Mineral County Board of County Commissioners highlights from June 5

Public comment

Rick Niedzwiecki asked about the cleanup of the drainage ditch behind the courthouse/hospital. Commissioner Garth Price stated he has been unable to get a meeting with the government staff but is working with Nevada Department of Transportation and the governor’s office.

Accounts payable

Auditor-Recorder Cindy Nixon and Deputy Auditor Teresa McNally presented the vouchers. McNally gave the commissioners a capital outlay purchase orders for Lincoln Aquatics (cover for the pool) for $14,970.18 and Dell Marketing (server for IT) for $3,351.73. She also gave the commissioners some PERS (Public Employee Retirement System of Nevada) vouchers and asked where the amount should be charged. (These items are agenized separately). McNally stated that the funds look good except Mina who only has $185 currently in their account. She explained that the Mina account will look better once business license money start coming in. The auditor-recorder’s office is to keep an eye on the account. Tom Bergeron from Mina asked about a “faux pas” in Mina where power had been turned off that was used for the freezers. Bergeron was informed on how to avoid this by Nixon. McNally was instructed to meet with the sheriff’s office regarding vouchers.

Part time assistant

Mike Fontaine, Building Inspector met with the commissioners to appoint a temporary part time assistant for the building official’s office. District Attorney Sean Rowe asked the commissioners to consider this to fulfill the needs of this office and citizens. Fire Chief Chris Lawrence stated that his department can help pick up some of the inspections. Fontaine stated this would be to help with code enforcement for Title 8 and the planning commission.

Mary Knoll-Bowen asked if Fontaine would be available to look over building plans. He stated he is. Larry Grant, Public Utilities Director stated he could help in Mina, Luning and Walker Lake.

The commissioners stated they would like to put an ad out to see who will apply for the position. A job description will be drawn up.

Walker Lake complaints

The commissioners received an update on referrals from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection regarding Walker Lake Township complaints. Rowe stated that there were 12 referrals to the Mineral County Building Inspector’s Office. A meeting prior to April 2 was held and “relevant Mineral County Offices were involved.” A response to NDEP was drafted on April 2. Sheri Samson asked which report Rowe is referring to and why wasn’t this done publicly? “There are many of us with skin in the game,” Samson told Rowe. Rowe went over the findings of the group with the commissioners. Samson stated, “I would like it on record that it took a state entity to come in here to see any kind of movement on this. I don’t understand why it wasn’t moved upon a year ago when we started this. Jennifer Carr from the Environmental Protection Agency told me [Sampson] that they [EPA] knew there were more valid problems with Walker Lake.” Samson stated that Carr’s personnel ran out of time at Walker Lake looking at issues at Walker Lake. “There is total non-compliance,” she told the commissioners.


Sheryl Gonzales with Western Nevada Development District (WNDD) met to introduce the district.

WNDD is the only Nevada certified United States Economic Development district funded primarily through the U.S. government. There are 17 counties and five cities in Nevada represented. “We do not recruit business” she stated. The WNDD creates an environment which to bring federal funds to places where businesses want to build. Gonzales said there were no projects from Mineral County which WNED would go out to find funding for, currently. Gonzales questioned a grant of $50,000 to benefit Mineral County with a refrigerated truck for farmers that benefited Mineral County. Shelley Hartmann, local economic development director, stated this was for the farmer’s market. Hoferer asked what the most recent grant to benefit Mineral County was. Ana Fitzgerald with Hawthorne Utilities stated it was probably the utilities infrastructure on the Babbitt property which happened in 2009. Price would like Gonzales to give him a breakdown of the funds that were spent for the downtown revitalization monies.

Airport bids

Dan McPeake, Public Works foreman and Allison Thomas with Armstrong Consultants met with the commissioners to open and review bids for improvements to the Hawthorne Industrial Airport, A.I.P. project number 332-0009-015-2019. The bids are for perimeter fencing around the facility. Custom Fence was the only bid received in the amount of $638,467.80. Thomas will review the bid and send recommendation to public works and FAA.

Park and Rec PERS

Mike McNeill met with the board of commissioners to discuss who will pay $11,901.68 in PERS payments for four employees that worked from July 2010 to June 2012 on the convention center (doing almost entirely renovations to the Mineral County owned convention center) and or for the Mineral County Park and Recreation Department some of whom did YCAC work at the gym and or sports field during large parts of that time.

McNeill asked how can Mineral County Fair and Recreation pay for this voucher? Rowe stated that the entity that these employees worked for – is who is responsible for the payment. Price asked why this is coming up now. Hoferer stated that best to her knowledge in the last five years there was not an on-site audit. McNeill stated that the state auditor’s office notified the county auditor’s office a few months ago and he is curious why they were presented a bill. Hoferer defended the recorder-auditor’s office due to a computer program change over. Hoferer made a motion to have the fair and recreation budget pay McNeill’s part of the PERS owing and that the general miscellaneous fund pay for the remainder of the balance. McNeill stated that if this is done, that “his board” has been advised to seek legal counsel.

Landfill lease

Grant asked for the commissioner’s signature on the Hawthorne Landfill Lease N-05585 01 and BLM request that Mineral County move forward in obtaining the patent for this landfill by April 8, 2021. Ana Fitzgerald, Hawthorne Utilities Office Manager, explained that the lease on the dump is done every three years. BLM sent a letter asking that the county patent the landfill. No one from BLM was available for the meeting and they will be available at another meeting. The commissioners made a motion to renew Hawthorne Lease N-05585 01 which expires April 8, 2021.

Public utilities PERS

Grant met to discuss paying PERS for part-time employee in excess of 1,039 hours for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 out of “water restricted fund 711-903-51200”. Grant explained that this is the same conversation as they had with McNeill. This will be paid out of the water restricted fund in the amount of $9,412.56.

Mud pits

Grant asked about cleanup of the mud pits adjacent to Armory Road, which are no longer in use. Grant stated that when the pits were put in it was a one-time use and the pit has not been used since. Grant would like to take the tires to the sewer ponds for sand fencing, take the posts back to the landfill and fill in the pits.


Clerk Chris Nepper explained that they had received a letter about the trees from Cow County Title. They stated that the trees can be trimmed, cut down etc. as long as the debris is removed and if any damage occurs – the county is liable.


Michael Stephens met with the commissioners regarding the firework show on July 4. Price stated that one of Eric Hamrey’s complaints was to make sure all fireworks are detonated. Price made a motion for Stephens to proceed with the show.

Travel expenses

McNally brought forth the revised language to the Mineral County Personnel Policy, Section 7 – Travel Expenses, 7.2.2-7.2.3, relative to per diem rates for the board’s approval. Price commended McNally’s work on the revision. Hoferer would like to make a change to the policy regarding the use of a county car.


Fire Chief Chris Lawrence asked for permission to apply for USDA grant funds to purchase a new or used ambulance; and for the chairman to sign the obligating documents when approved. Lawrence explained that the red ambulance is nickel and diming the department. He is thinking of doing a “rebox” on the red ambulance. Discussion on ambulance bidding from the past. Lawrence was advised not to go over $130,000.

United We Stand grant

Lawrence stood in for Patrick Hughes, emergency manager for Hughes to move forward with the submission of the annual United We Stand grant through the State Emergency Response Commission for IT and fire equipment. Lawrence stated that the grant was due in May but this was extended. The Local Emergency Planning Commission is looking at this for the Spillman program which will trigger a tone. Pagers will be included in this grant for Mina and Walker Lake as well as IT equipment. $27,837 is the amount of the grant and the chairman signed the grant paperwork. The grant has no match.

Nutrition services award

Cherrie George, senior services director, asked for acceptance of the Aging and Disability Services Division FY 2019 Nutrition Services Incentive Program sub award supplement of $3,091 (document was signed on May 15.) The commissioners moved to accept this item.

Park and Rec board

Boyles met to appoint one member to the Mineral County Park and Recreation Advisory Board. No letter was submitted. The item will be back on the agenda.

Appraiser job description

Kevin Chisum, Assessor wanted approval of the job description for “appraiser-class14”. Hoferer made a motion to update the job description. Motion approved.

Utility bill

McNeill asked the commissioners for written clarification if Public Works will be presenting Mineral County Convention and Tourism Authority with a large full year water/sewer/garbage bill at the end of the fiscal year FY 2018-19 ending June 30. McNeill stated that public works took over the paying of these utility bills and he was unaware of this happening until he went to the water office. The convention and tourism took back the bill in March. McNally stated that the bill was changed from public works to convention and tourism by McNeill. In the lease with convention and tourism it is stated that that entity pays for the water bill. No decision was made.

Water right claims

Hegg asked for consideration and possible action to the Department of Wildlife Application to change the manner and place of use of all or a portion of water right claims of the Walker River. Rowe explained that this is good for Walker Lake and no action needs to be taken.

County Code 5.20

The commissioners met for possible proposal and first reading by title only an ordinance amending Mineral County Code Chapter 5.20 Solicitors, Peddlers and Travelling Merchants. Rowe read the ordinance. He explained that the sheriff’s office will be issuing the business licenses instead of coming to the commissioners. Hoferer asked for a monthly or quarterly report from the sheriff’s office. Business licenses that are contested or have questions will come to the board. A copy of the proposed ordinance can be found at the clerk’s office. Craig Nixon asked that this be placed on the county website.

Closed session

Price made the motion to go into closed session pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute 288.220 to discuss/review all labor/bargaining unit contracts, grievances and negotiations.

Walker Lake Advisory

Gladys Porter was appointed to the West Walker Lake Advisory Board.