“We have to do something. We have to move in a different direction because things aren’t coming in here.” Rob Mathias, Hawthorne resident.
At the July 3 board of county commissioner meeting, Mary Marinello discussed the decision “that denied Mineral County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) the GOED [Nevada Governor Office of Economic Development] grant through HWY 95.”
“Thank you for taking the time to listen to my appeal,” Marinello told the board. “Back on March 6 is when it was voted that the grant funding for GOED and Highway 95 would not be given back to Shelley Hartmann and MCEDA and there are many of us in the county that are really unhappy with that decision because of all the services and al that she has done for the county, so – we created a petition and circulated it and I would like to read it into record, if I could.”
The petition reads as follows: “Don’t close Mineral County Economic Development Authority. To the Mineral County commissioners, we the undersigned are deeply opposed to your unethical move to close MCEDA. The decision to defund MCEDA was made as a result of illegal meetings to remove funding from our local MCEDA and give the funding to Carson City and NDA. The result of this action closes the local office and removes all local services due to the removal of local funding. The closure of MCEDA removes boots on the ground for employment opportunities, local small business development and client care. Losing our local representation to remove sixteen years of expertise and knowledge of lands available, history and opportunities, utility, resources, liabilities and benefits of locations in the county. We the undersigned demand that you keep the funding in Mineral County with MCEDA and cease and desist from illegal activities including: several meetings outside of Mineral County; violations of open meeting law and the failure to even attempt to work with the local office.”
The petition was handed to chairman Chris Hegg who instructed the deputy clerk to hold the petition with other documents related to this issue.
Marinello stated that while circulating the petition many people questioned as to why the funding was leaving Mineral County. She stated that Hartmann has been working had to get Top Rail and Tesla to the industrial park.
“We would like you to rescind that vote, please,” Marinello told the commissioners.
Hegg advised those in attendance that he has been in contact with GOED to come to Mineral County and give a presentation but he has not been able to finalize that.
Sheri Samson approached the commissioners explaining she has some “housekeeping issues” that need to addressed from March 6.
“Let’s be clear. You did not own or control the Mineral County Economic Authority. It is still intact with its board. It is operating independently now as the non -profit that it is. They are debt free with an emphasis on redevelopment. The clients she developed are staying within her endeavors and they expressed a full trust in her knowledge of Mineral County and will continue to embrace her solid representation,” Samson stated.
“Now for some housekeeping,” she told the board. Samson told the commissioners she transcribed the March 6 meeting, item 14. She told the commissioners that the agenda item did not read like the motion which was made by Commissioner Garth Price and actions of the board. She also stated that $61,000 of Mineral County monies have been transferred to NNDA. Samson went on to state that she believes there were illegal actions during the March 6 meeting.
Commissioner Hoferer asked if Mineral County had entered into a contract with NNDA. District Attorney Sean Rowe stated they had not.
“Just for clarification, the only thing that happened after that meeting in March was this board directed a letter to GOED saying that you were interested in joining the Sierra Nevada region. They sent back a letter that they had received our request, that they would consider it in their budgeting process. That was read into the record, I would say in April sometime, we haven’t heard back from them since. We have not received any kind of contract or anything. That’s why I believe that the chairman is trying to schedule a meeting before the board with GOED, to find out what is going on with the request,” Rowe told Hoferer and those in attendance.
Former commissioner Richard Bryant claims that Hegg did not close the Mineral County Board of Health meeting and reopen the board of commissioner’s meeting. “That means everything you did was null and void,” he told the commissioners.
Rowe explained that a complaint has been filed with the attorney general’s office and that is subject to a different administrative review process. “I ask that the board not address this.”
Bryant instructed Samson to get a television crew to come down and question the Mineral County Commissioners to get things out in the open and get it investigated properly.
Rob Mathias, long-time resident of Mineral County made a last minute public comment. “I applaud the commissioners wanting to go in a different direction. I’ve been in this town for 53 years and I haven’t seen anything come in from that economic development. Not one thing. Seriously! Top Rail is coming in because of the depot not because of economic development.”
“Again, we’ve got to do something cause we are stale here. County can’t hire employees to take care of the town, the parks. We don’t have any revenue coming in,” Mathias said.
The board made no decisions or acknowledgments on this item. An email was sent to Hartmann from the Independent-News asking for comment.