Mineral County Board of Commissioners highlights from Dec. 6

Safety message

Emergency Manager Patrick Hughes gave a safety talk in regards to holiday safety.

Public Comment

Public comment was heard from George Dean from Hawthorne Utilities submitted a step-2 grievance to the commissioners. He stated that this should be heard by the commissioners on the Dec. 6 agenda but had been removed from the agenda.

Chris Hegg, excused himself as a commissioner and explained that he would like to address the commissioners in regards to the problems within the assessor’s office. District Attorney Sean Rowe explained that Hegg is an elected official and cannot remove that hat. Hegg continued and wants the commissioners to look into problems with the assessor’s office.

Public Guardian Mike James stated that one of his employees ran into a problem accessing records and feels that this could have resulted in a possible problem. He advises that if you are asked to download an item, call the IT manager first.

Hawthorne Utilities Director Larry Grant discussed the use of the El Capitan hot water well.

Commissioner Jerrie Tipton participated in a meeting in Arizona. She stated there is a federal advisory board for drones.

Reports and correspondence

Deputy clerk Bonnie DeMars read a letter from+ Lawrence Worthen for signs at Walker Lake regarding discharge of firearms.


The commissioner minutes for Sept. 13; Oct. 3; Oct. 4; Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 were approved.

Business licenses

The following business licenses were approved by the commissioners: Blair Consortium, LLC. (Blair D. Chavin) and Briggs Electric Inc. (Jeff Perry).

Liquor license

The following business license was approved by the Mineral County Liquor Board: Veterans of Foreign Wars (Barbara Edington) at 890 A Street in Hawthorne. The VFW will be serving at the hospital Christmas party at the convention center.

Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Apparatus

Vern Watson, Mineral County Fire Chief met with the commissioners to purchase an Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Apparatus (ARFF) for a nominal fee. Watson explained that the fee to purchase this item is $500. He told the commissioners that a donor presented the fire department with $500 so there is no cost to the county. The ARFF will be stored at the fire department for now. He discussed training.

Commissioner Garth Price asked about the condition of the vehicle.

Chris Lawrence explained that this vehicle can be used for more than just airport firefighting.

Watson explained that there are currently three firefighters that are trained on the ARFF. Discussion of a memorandum of understanding between Mineral County and the organization using the airport.

Betty Easley addressed the commissioners about her concern about not having an ARFF at the airport. The commissioners approved the donation.

Airport advisory committee

Chairman Larry Grant of the Hawthorne Industrial Airport/Mineral County Airport Land Use Advisory Committee placed an item on the agenda to remove T.C. Knight from that board and fill the vacancy.

Grant explained that the board implemented a participation policy (miss three meetings – they are out). The commissioners moved to replace Knight.

Planning commission

Grant explained that Easley resigned from the Mineral County Regional Planning Commission. The commissioners would like to fill the vacant position.


Chairman Hughes met with the commissioners regarding notification of new members to be added to the Mineral County Local Emergency Planning Commission. Hughes stated that Knight is being moved to a “member at large”. The committee moved to add Lawrence as a member with Watson as his proxy and also Carol Lemiuex as the representative at the hospital.

Sign-on bonus

Sheriff Randy Adams explains that they have four openings and zero applicants.

“I don’t even get unqualified applicants,” Adams told the commissioner.

He stated that Humboldt County has an opening and their opening salary is $27 an hour. Mineral County salaries are completely out of the ballpark. Sheriff Adams would like to offer $1,500 for FTO and another $1,500 at the end of the year.

“Do you have money in your budget?” Commissioner Tipton questioned.

“I’m down four officers, which is why I have money in my budget,” he explained.

The commissioners allowed the sheriff’s office to allow a $3,000 sign on bonus. Half to be paid at the end of their FTO, the other half at the end of the probation.

Shores Drive at Walker Lake

A representative of Thomas Kilsby met with the commissioners regarding road repair on Shores Drive at Walker Lake.

He explained that the road needs to be repaired after a water line was repaired on the road.

Grant explained that the Shores Drive was not turned over to the county but instead Walker Lake General Improvement District should be responsible for the repairs.

Public Works Director Eric Hamrey explained that a private contractor cut the road, the contractor should be in charge of the repairs.

Discussion regarding contractors cutting county roads and repairs not being made.

Tipton explained that this should be brought up with Walker Lake General Improvement District.

She again questioned if there is an ordinance regarding the cutting of roads. She would like a discussion with Mark Nixon and Building Inspector Mike Fontaine to discuss this issue further.

911 surcharge

There was no public in attendance regarding the adoption of an ordinance to amend Mineral County Code 3.34 to increase the 911 surcharge from .25¢ to $1 per telephone line per year.

Walker Lake Advisory Board

Barbara Edington met with the commissioner about reorganizing the advisory board at Walker Lake. Commissioner Tipton told Edington to get the current by-laws on file in the clerk’s office and then come back as an organized board and begin looking over and updating the by-laws. Discussion on open meeting law training.

Election equipment

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Nepper asked for a resolution authorizing a medium-term obligation (or installment purchase agreement) in the amount of $91,000 for the purchase of new election equipment.

This is mandated equipment.

Susan Maple, explained that the cost of the equipment is such a large burden to only be used every two years.

The resolution was read into record.


Commissioner Tipton placed an agenda item to be heard reading, “For consideration and possible action relative to becoming a cooperating agency with the BLM re: Greater Sage Grouse Land Use Plan, planning efforts.”

She gave the background on the item.

Commissioner Tipton would like to become a cooperating agency with BLM and have NACO be a joint representative.

The motion was made by Commissioner Hegg and passed.

Firearms within township limits

The commissioners met in regards to adopting a proposed ordinance to limit the discharge of firearms within township limits or within 1,500 feet of a residence.

Heidi Johnson of Walker Lake said, “Stop letting them shoot in my front yard.”

District Attorney Rowe explained some questions that have been brought forth to him.

Jim and Sandra Essenpries.

Expired fire equipment

The commissioners discussed the replacement of expiring fire department equipment. Watson presented the breakdown price for the equipment.

Recorder-Auditor Christine Hoferer asked if the company supplying the equipment will work with the county regarding financing.

Commissioner Tipton explained to Lawrence and Watson to meet and work on medium-term financing on the equipment.

Commissioner Tipton made a motion to move forward with the medium-term financing to replace outdated equipment at the firehouse.

Regional Transportation Commission

Commissioners Tipton and Price met as the Mineral County Regional Transportation Commission with Hamrey and Donna Oberhansli.

Oberhansli gave a fuel report.

Discussion on ARFF impact on the Hawthorne Airport.

Discussion of truck parking near McDonalds.

Hamrey would like to get the mileage of roads from Harold Dimmick for a more accurate mile count.

Discussion of purchasing new graders for the county.

Discussion of adopting roadways and alleyways in the master plan.

Hamrey discussed working with Paul Trujillo at SOC to fix potholes and Hamrey will do shoulder work on Thorne Road.

The commission looked into an ordinance regarding the disturbance of roadways. Commissioner Tipton asked Hamrey to deliver to the contractor as addressed earlier in the meeting.

Nuisance complaint

A nuisance complaint was filed on parcel #001-201-04. The property is located on 118 West Third in Hawthorne. Building Inspector Mike Fontaine explained the nuisance complaint process. The commissioners directed Fontaine to look over the property and report back to the commissioners.

Sale of parcel

George Pomeroy petitioned the commissioners to sell APN: 06-640-36 in Mineral County which is located in the Babbitt area. Commissioner Tipton explained that the property is tied up in a lawsuit against the county. The commissioners directed the Pomeroy’s to discuss property with the Hawthorne Airport Board or Woody Isom.