Highlights from the Mineral County Board of County Commissioner meetings

Budget hearings from March 25-28

The commissioners met with department heads, elected officials and those concerned about the county’s budget estimates. Discs are available from the county clerk’s office for those interested in the four day hearings.

Commissioner meeting from April 3

Safety message

Patrick Hughes, Emergency Manager presented the safety message about distracted driving.

Accounts payable

Deputy Auditor Teresa McNally and Auditor-Recorder Cindy Nixon presented the vouchers, credit card approval forms, capital outlay purchase orders and cash report to the commissioners. A credit card approval was needed from Bret Towe for Network Solutions. Three capital outlay purchase orders were also presented. The capital outlay approved was for $11,349 to [inaudible] for Hawthorne Utilities; $2,437.50 for Mineral County Health Nurse outside renovation and $4,499.25 for a dump trailer for road/public works departments.

McNally explained that the Hawthorne Town Fund budget would be at a balance of $324 after all bills are paid. Hoferer advised those in attendance that the transfer of $60,000 from contingency fund for the fire truck should have been a ‘wash’. The auditor will make a transfer of $20,000 out of general “to be paid back by June 30, 2019 for the ambulance. She advised the fire chief that his revenue is late coming throughout the year from business licenses.


Deputy Clerk Bonnie DeMars updated the commissioners that a letter from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development had been received.

Business license

The following business license was approved: Roberts Roof and Floor, Inc. (Michael McCarthy).

Liquor license

The following liquor license was approved: Old Nevada Pizza (Molly and Jeff Moody). This was a change to the current license.

Mini excavator

Larry Grant, Hawthorne Utilities Director discussed going to bid for a mini excavator for the department. The item was budgeted for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The bid specification sheet was presented. The budgeted amount was $80,000. Grant thinks that with all the attachments requested it shouldn’t be over $65,000. Grant was approved to go out to bid. The bid will be closed bid and presented to the commissioners.

Boot allowance

Tam Carrigan, Hawthorne Utilities employee, wanted clarification on policies and procedures for the boot allowance. Carrigan asked if the employee’s can go to a provider, purchase the boots and the county is billed for the boots. He stated that many employees work paycheck to paycheck. Hoferer stated that this needs to be discussed with Sean Rowe during the union negotiations.

Fire Department

Fire Chief Chris Lawrence discussed receiving a grant from Nevada State Public and Behavior Health in the amount of $4,901.40, partnership with the Red Cross to provide free smoke detectors and partner with University Nevada, Reno’s Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) to provide Narcan free of cost and change of ambulance billing company from REMSA to Be Sharp.

Commissioner Chris Hegg stated that this agenda item cannot be taken the way it is written. The only item can be is providing free smoke detectors. The first item was approved. The other items will need to be reagendized.

Emergency Management Fund

Cindy met to approve a resolution to establish a new fund in the Mineral County budget to be called “Emergency Management Fund”. Cindy said in the event that there is an emergency or disaster in the county that this account needs to be established. In budget hearings, there were two amounts given, $25,000 for emergency fund and $25,000 for emergency preparedness. Price stated that there are supplies already purchased. Hoferer wants those items on inventoried and back into the county records. Hughes explained that there needs to be a supply of water in case of an emergency. Mineral County Resolution 19-008 was read into record by Nepper.

Patriots Plaza

Clerk Chris Nepper asked the commissioner about accommodating a train engine [from Hawthorne Army Depot] at Patriots Plaza. Price stated he is not in favor and doesn’t want to be responsible for it. Hoferer stated she wanted to see something more appealing at Patriot’s Park. A motion to not accept the train was made and passed.

Hawthorne sign

Hoferer placed an item on the agenda to discuss the status of the new “Welcome to Hawthorne” sign including the design and location of the sign. She stated this was at the request of Wade Barton. Mark Nixon explained that this is a Nevada Department of Transportation project at a cost of $250,000. Mark explained that the only participation that Mineral County will have is the landscaping side. He also explained that NDOT allowed local contractors to bid on the project but it was awarded to A&K Construction. Barton stated that he feels that if the county gets a “Welcome” sign, shouldn’t the community have input. Mark explained that it is the State of Nevada property. Price stated that a flashing yellow light before the corner should be installed.


Discussion of any and all pending legislation currently proposed at the Nevada Legislature. No comments were given.

Budget estimates

The commissioners reviewed the 2018-19 and 2019-20 budget estimates. The commissioners discussed the road department budget; district attorney budget, medical indigent budget; general indigent budget and sheriff’s office budget. Deputy Recorder-Auditor Hillary Pellett informed the commissioners that SOC, LLC. had paid their 2017-2018 possessory use taxes to the sum of $175,455. Those funds will be placed into “prior year revenue”. Discussion of SOC, LLC. personal property tax. Net proceeds was discussed.

Business license ordinance

District Attorney Sean Rowe discussed amending Mineral County business license ordinance. Rowe gave the commissioners the previous license and asked them to look over the document and make clear definitions for those who do business within Mineral County. “its decades old,” Rowe stated. “If we want to be a business friendly county, this is long overdue.” This item will come back to the board at a later date.

Closed session

The commissioners did not meet in closed session.

Building inspector evaluation

The commissioner to “for consideration and possible action relative to the conducting annual Performance Evaluation of Mike Fonatine, Mineral County Building Inspector, including, but not limited to possible promotion, endorsement engagement, retention, termination, suspension, demotion, and reduction in pay, reprimand or “no action”. Hegg discussed the coming in of a new business and that Fontaine should not give advice for different county/state entities. Price asked that Fontaine work on his communication with the public and getting across what the commissioners have implemented. Fontaine explained that his job is straight forward and many times he has to explain things four or five times to help the customer understand the law. Hoferer explained that he needs to be more open in conversation with those who have complaints. Fontaine informed the commissioners he is taking some classes. Communication was discussed between Fontaine and the commissioners. “My job is not to be somebody’s buddy,” Fontaine told the commissioners. Fontaine expressed concern that his liaison does not stop by or talk to him unless there is an issue. Hoferer questioned Fontaine about putting his forms on the Mineral County website. He stated that he gave them to the IT director to put into a workable form. Hoferer advised Fontaine that he may benefit from a school-to-career position. No decision was made.

Utilities director evaluation

The commissioner to “for consideration and possible action relative to the conducting annual Performance Evaluation of Larry Grant, Hawthorne Utilities Director, including, but not limited to possible promotion, endorsement engagement, retention, termination, suspension, demotion, and reduction in pay, reprimand or “no action”. Price stated that he is glad that the issue with seatbelts has been addressed. Grant was praised for his efforts in helping in community outreach. Grant praised his operators for outstanding work in the department. Hoferer addressed his office staff walking around town with another staff member. She asked that Grant discuss this with his staff. Price thanked him for addressing questions and concerns in a timely manner. No decision was made.