The Board of Mineral County Commissioners met on Jan. 3 to organize the board and make appointments

Commissioner Garth Price volunteered to become chairman of the board. Commissioner Jerrie Tipton was made vice-chairman and Commissioner Chris Hegg was made member.

The following appointments were made: Tipton appointed to the following boards and commissions: advocate for beneficial legislation; Consolidated Agencies of Human Services (CAHS); Hawthorne Utilities; Building Inspector; Public Guardian; Nevada Association of Counties (NACO); Represent Mineral County with State and Federal Tribal Agencies; State Land and Use Commission; Mason Valley Conservation District; Debt Management and Nuclear Projects.

Hegg appointed to the following boards and commissions: Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment Defense and Airspace; Public Works/Road Department/Buildings and Grounds; Park and Recreation; Museum; Rural Nevada Development Corporation (with Price as alternate); Western Nevada Home Consortium (with Price as alternate); Homeland Security Working Group; Economic Development Authority; Park and Recreation Advisory; Military Council Advisory Group and Airport Land Use.

Price appointed to the following boards and commissions: AT&T Next Generation 9-11; Mineral County Library; Care and Share; Fire Department/Emergency Management; alternate for Nevada Association of Counties (NACO); NevadaWorks; Mineral County Regional Planning Commission (with Hegg as alternate); Regional Transportation Commission; Mineral County Convention and Tourism Authority; Local Emergency Planning Commission (with Hegg as alternate); Walker Lake Advisory and Walker Lake Legislation.

Tipton made a motion to approve the appointments as approved.

Park and Recreation Director Barb Owens explained that there needs to be more community involvement on the park and recreation board.

Business License Applications

The board of commissioners met to approve the business license of Hitendra Sinh for Motel 6 located at 1301 Fifth Street (formerly the Sand and Sage) in Hawthorne. Mike Fonatine, Mineral County Building Inspector, explained that this is a new owner of the property. One of the big requirements to bring the motel up to code is to have fire sprinklers. Sinh asked if he could get a variance for ten rooms. The state fire marshal will handle the sprinklers.

Tipton made the motion to approve the building license for Motel 6 contingent upon the terms and conditions of the state fire marshal. This is to allow work to begin on the building.

The motion passed as presented.

Payout of annual leave for sheriff’s office employees

Sheriff Randy Adams explained to the commissioners that he has five people who are still over their annual leave allotment.

Adams explained the back story to the new commissioners. As the leave is a “use or lose”.

He explained that most of his employees used their leave. The person that still has 125 hours on the book works in the jail as a trainer.

Adams asked that the board approve the payout for the leave.

Tipton discussed the collective bargaining rules. Adams explained that the employee knew he could not take the leave.

Hegg stated, “We cannot supersede that.” In response to the collective bargaining agreement.

Recorder-Auditor Christine Hoferer explained that the employee in discussion had previously been paid almost $3,000. She stated that Adams makes the other employees with “use or lose” hours take the time off. She explained Local Union 39 definition on pay out of leave.

Hoferer is worried that employees will not take days off then allow them to be paid out.

Hegg stated again that they cannot supersede the contract.

No motion was made.

Senior Center relative to 6th Street School

Cherrie George, Mineral County Senior Services Program Director met with the commissioner to discuss the use of the 6th Street School for senior services.

A letter from Mineral County School District was read into record by George regarding the deeding of the school to Mineral County. The school is willing to deed the school and adjoining property to Mineral County.

George explained that this subject has been brought to the board for a few months. George stated that her budget cannot handle any remodels to the building.

The dining room and kitchen floors in the now used senior center need to be repaired. George would like to see the building used for a senior/community center.

George explained how to bring in people to the community, “We need programs.”

Titpon asked if the due-diligence has been accomplished yet as set by the previous board.

Eric Hamrey, Mineral County Public Works Director stated he has been in contact with Bell Fort with no response from that company.

Price asked what needs to be accomplished at the senior center. Hamrey explained that the floor is too thick and the floor and structure need to be redone.

“There is asbestos in one of the layers”, Hamrey stated.

Tipton explained, “I don’t feel comfortable with taking the 6th Street School without having the due diligence done.”

George explained that the Brownsfield project checked in Phase One for asbestos and lead based paint. “I don’t know if the county has the funds today to say “YES” we want that building and what is it going to cost us to get us to use it as a senior/community center?” Tipton asked.

George explained that nothing is going to be done to the 6th Street School for at least five years.

“I’m looking at the big picture. If Mineral County accepts responsibility of this building, Mineral County must maintain the building from deteriorating until such time,” George explained.

Hamrey explained the caretaker status of an abandoned building.

The 6th Street School is a historic building in Mineral County. George explained that the previous board set aside funds for the current senior center building or another home for the center.

Discussion of an add-on at the current senior center was discussed.

“I see Cherrie’s idea on the school and I think it’s fantastic, I just don’t see that we have the funding for it,” Price commented.

Richard Bryant explained that when he was on the school board, the board closed the 6th Street School because of asbestos and the boiler downstairs. He discussed the asbestos in the various places within the building and other problems.

Mark Nixon discussed the repairs from BellFort at the 6th Street School.

“You need to think about this before you get into it,” Bryant cautioned.

Tipton explained that she knows what the county is dealing with at the current senior building but is cautious as to what the 6th Street School could be hiding.

Barb Owens, Director of Park and Recreation, stated she would like to see the older buildings kept intact for the history of our town.

George explained that her drive is to start bringing in the next generation into the senior center.

Walt Hackford, Mineral County School Superintendent explained that the 6th Street School is on the National Historical Registry. He would like to see the building restored and active.

George gave the commissioner’s a list of ideas for the uses of the building.

Fontaine explained that his biggest issue would be the usage of occupancy. He explained that if the renovation is over fifty percent of the value of the building, then everything down to the smallest thing has to be brought up to codes.

If so, the jurisdiction then go to state codes and the state fire marshal will get involved, including Radon mitigation.

Hackford stated that the value of the 6th Street School was roughly $270,000.

The commissioners would like to have a member from the historical society meet with them.

This item was tabled for the next commissioner’s meeting.

Expanding Garbage Services

Ana Fitzgerald, office manager of Hawthorne Utilities explained that the amendment to this ordinance to supply service to Walker Lake and county-wide.

Larry Grant explained that it gives Mineral County the right to exclusive garbage service in the county where they can contract if needed.

The ordinance also explains the Hawthorne horse corral community roll-off.

A change was also made that dumpsters need to be on compact.

Tipton made a motion to adopt the amending of Ordinance 190A, Bill 206 to expand garbage service area, rates and collection.

No public comment.

The motion passed.

Budget Process for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 and 2017-2018

Hoferer explained that the county is getting ready to get into the budget process.

She explained that her department sends out some simple instructions and forms and went through the process of her office.

Budget hearing will begin on Mar. 20. Her office waits for the final projections from the state before setting up a meeting.

She discussed capital outlay and the budgeting of money received from Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). Any department that has a request for capital outlay should bring it forward. It will then be at the discretion of the board.

Hoferer explained to the board and departments that Hillary Pellett will be handling most of the budgets this year.

Fiscal Note System

Hoferer explained the Web-based Fiscal Note System. Her office gets the new legislative bills. She takes the responsibility to forward those onto the appropriate offices and those who need it.

Tipton made a motion to leave the Fiscal Note System in the Recorder-Auditor’s control.

First Reading of Ordinance 207A, Bill 223

Tipton read the proposed ordinance by title only which is amending Ordinance 207A, Bill 223 as defined in Mineral County Code, Chapter 3.24 by altering the procedures for the petition of modification to rate of assessment for the Mineral County Landfill operations, equipment replacement and closure-post closure.

Correspondence and Reports

Mineral County Deputy Heidi Johnson read into record a letter from Mineral County Independent-News. The letter explained that the county assessor decided not to run the Mineral County Tax Roll into an MCIN edition.

Mineral County Assessor Dorothy Fowler explained that her office could use the funds for the tax roll for training and supplies. Though the tax roll had already been budgeted by the assessor’s office.

Tipton explained that in order to discuss this agenda item must be placed on the next agenda.

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to the commissioners explaining NRS 439.4905 that a cost of is paid by the county for various supplies provided by the department $12,304.95 is the total amount needed by the county. Karen Boyles asked for a copy of the letter.

Walker Lake General Improvement District

Mark Nixon explained that there are four vacancies at this time. Nixon explained that currently there is a good working board and he would like them reappointed for another term. Stewart Handte, Pete Newman and Randy Samson were letters of interest.

It was discussed that Handte is no longer in the county.

Newman and Samson were appointed to the Walker Lake General Improvement District. Motion passed.

Brownsfield Coalition Assessment Grant for Fiscal Year 2017

Tipton gave a background of the Brownsfield Coalition to the new board.

She explained that the time has come for the supporting counties to help with managing the grants.

Discussion on property in Mineral County was discussed.

Tipton asked Hoferer about where the funding will come from this year.

Tipton made a motion to have buildings and grounds give the Brownsfield Coalition $2,000. The line item will need to be added to next year’s budget not to exceed $4,000.

Convention and Tourism

Mike McNeill from the Mineral County Convention and Tourism Board stated that no one from motel or hotel industry applied for the vacancy. Larry Grant submitted a letter of interest.

Tipton stated that Grant can fill in until a representative in the motel or hotel industry can be found.

McNeill explained that the appointment will fill out the 2017 year.

District Attorney Sean Rowe explained about county employees serving on boards.

The discussion of both Owens and Grant sitting on the board was questioned.

McNeill was directed to reach out all hotel/motel owners to fill the position by Tipton.

No appointment was made.

Rate increases for Hawthorne Water System and Mina/Luning Water System

Grant opened this hearing by stating, “Good morning. It is that time of the year again.”

The utility departments have received their final audits and he stated that it is time to address the rates again.

Fitzgerald gave a background on the past rate increases. She explained that this is the third year that Mina/Luning will be getting the increase. She explained that Hawthorne water has been carrying Mina/Luning for years.

Fitzgerald stated that the utilities department is suggesting a one percent increase for the Mina/Luning water system customers for 2017-2018 or a two percent increase with a two percent increase to include an extra thousand gallons per customer. Mina residents, as stated by Grant, want the extra thousand gallon option.

Grant explained the wells in the area. Stating they were installed in the early 1960’s with “very little done” to those wells since that time.

Tipton stated, “For years, Mina and Luning residents have felt like the redheaded step kids. For various reasons.”

Price asked by the Mina residents want the extra thousand. Grant explained it is because Hawthorne residents get 5,000 gallons.

“Hawthorne water can not subsidize them. Should not and cannot,” Grant said.

Grant stated that the Mina wells need sounding tubes.

Fitzgerald explained that the payroll went up substantially and that is the need for some of the increase. Grant explained that wages is the largest impact to the budget.

Discussion regarding Corey Canyon water system.

Fitzgerald explained that Hawthorne Utilities would like to take out the discount given for early pay on water bills.

Grant discussed nitrate levels in samples and the sewer.

The commissioners and audience discussed the rise in prices for Hawthorne water customers.

Discussion of Walker Lake residents being charged $21 per month. Including the price of purchasing garbage carts.

George questioned why Walker Lake residents are given the option to have or not have garbage service whereas Hawthorne residents don’t get that option.

Grant discussed that is because the water and garbage service are two separate entities.

Tipton explained the commissioners do not want the responsibility of the Walker Lake General Improvement District water system.

Hawthorne Utilities can also contract out the removal of garbage.

Hamrey questioned the gate fee funds.

Fitzgerald asked for a five cent increase for Hawthorne garbage residents.

A meeting regarding the same issue was also held at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 4.