Mineral County Board of County Commissioner highlights from Sept. 18

Safety message

Patrick Hughes, emergency manager gave a safety talk regarding flu season. On Oct. 10 from 5-8 p.m. is the county flu pod at the firehouse in Hawthorne.

Public comment

Sheri Samson thanked those that helped with the Motorhead’s Shop, Swap and Show car event. $34,176 was raised for Boys and Girls Club. Rick Niedzwiecki thanked Glenn Bunch and Mineral County Search & Rescue for the signs and anyone Samson did not mention. He stated that another event had a fundraiser for the care and share and he would like to know the amount raised. Tom McNeill asked that the agenda item against 324 G Street in Hawthorne be moved to a future agenda. Shelley Hartmann said that her publicist got many photos and Quick Throttle magazine will be coving the Motorhead’s Shop, Swap and Show event. Ed Ryan, District Manager of the Mason Valley Conservation District introduced himself to the board and explained that the conservation district covers Mineral County. They help with weeds, a resource management analyses is being worked on and he would like people to give him suggestions of needs and priorities.

Accounts payable

Recorder-Auditor Cindy Nixon and Deputy Recorder-Auditor Teresa McNally presented the vouchers, credit card approval requests and capital outlay purchases. McNally gave the commissioners the capital outlay approval in the amount of $34,393 to Fire Truck, Unlimited for the first installment of the ambulance. McNally explained that with the new recording software she isn’t able to give an exact balance of funds. Discussion of glitches with the new accounting system. McNally gave kudos to the ladies at Hawthorne Utilities for embracing the change on the accounting system with a positive attitude.


The minutes from Sept. 4 were approved.

BLM update

Ken Collum, Stillwater Field Manager for the BLM Carson City gave the commissioners a program update. He did not see that any geothermal leases in Mineral County were bid on. 58 arrests at Burning Man. The Mineral County map is 1-2 months out for publication. Best in the Desert stated that the Mina Road was approved by the commissioners and the road is still in bad shape.

Liquor license

The commissioners went into the liquor license board. Jean Peterson for the Hawthorne Lions Club requested a special liquor license. The item was approved.

Undersheriff pay raise

Sheriff Randy Adams met with the commissioners to discuss a pay raise for the undersheriff. Adams explained that all law enforcement officers in Mineral County received pay raises and he feels that the undersheriff also deserves one. He explained that the undersheriff is aggressive with grants. Hoferer explained that the undersheriff did receive the three percent that the other officers recently were awarded. Adams explained that the undersheriff’s wage is quite close to those he supervises. The sheriff asked for $8,320 a year pay raise. Hoferer explained that the undersheriff raise would be more than base salary for the sheriff. Hoferer stated that she cannot go with the request because it is higher than that of the sheriff. She also explained that the undersheriff received $15,000 last year by working Joining Forces grant. Discussion of previous undersheriff salaries. Price stated he would be comfortable with a $4,000-$5,000 pay raise. Hoferer feels the board has gone above and beyond with the sign-on bonus for new deputies. Adams told the commissioners, “The war on drugs in Mineral County has been hammered down as a direct result of him [Undersheriff Bill Ferguson].”Price made a motion to bump up the undersheriff’s salary to $75,560. Hegg seconded the motion. Larry Grant, Hawthorne Utilities director stated that he works well with Undersheriff Ferguson. Peterson explained she used to be in human resources and questioned why exempt employees receive overtime. Kari Banfield gave public comment regarding Ferguson taking time away from his family – so other deputies can be with their families. Recorder-Auditor Nixon has a concern “from the legal aspect” and other exempt employee’s possibly filing litigation if this happens. Hegg and Price voted yes. Hoferer voted nay.

High school Fire/EMT courses

Fire Chief Chris Lawrence explained that last year, there were issues with the EMT courses in the high school. Lawrence has discussed with Karen Watson, superintendent of Mineral County School District want to sign a memo of understanding between Mineral County Fire, EMS and the Mineral County School District to provide instruction, classroom space and course management for high school CTE Fire and EMT courses. The courses will be held at the station and the instruction will be done at his department. A grant will pay for instructor and materials. The grant is run through the school district. Watson was not present in the meeting. The motion passed and chairman will sign after the district attorney reviews. Niedzwiecki asked about certifications.

Nuisance complaint

A notice of violation on parcel #001-262-10, 324 G Street, Hawthorne and for approval to move forward to abate nuisance conditions. Lawrence explained that the complaint was filed on Jan. 10, 2019. The item was started by former building inspector Mike Fontaine. Lawrence read Fontaine’s notes. Lawrence discussed his dealings with the property owner and presented photos from July and September. Tom McNeill, owner of the property, discussed how he tried to remediate the issue at his home. When speaking with Lawrence at his property, McNeill stated that he requested 60 days more but due to extreme heat, he’s having a hard time. McNeill would like to rent dumpsters or give him 45 days to get the lot cleaned up. The commissioners will give McNeill 30 days and then revisit the issue.

Nuisance complaint

The commissioners discussed to approve to move forward to abate nuisance conditions at 375 D Street in Hawthorne. Ferguson explained that his complaint was abated. The property owner has been working with him to remedy the issue.

Vending machine

Jeremy Williams with the Coalition of Mineral County updated the commissioners on where the harm reduction vending machine will be placed in Mineral County. A harm reduction meeting will be held Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. at the convention center. Williams stated that this is about educating the communities.

Grant applications

Hoferer agendized an item relative to the appropriate action on grant applications being approved outside of board of commissioner meetings. Hoferer explained that the sheriff wanted a POOL/PACT grant and after the Sept. 4 meeting, his request was not on the agenda. She found out one of the grants was signed by Price. Price explained it wasn’t accepting the grant it was just signed to start the grant process. She stated that any new grant application needs to come back in front of the board. Sheriff Adams explained that he didn’t have time to get it onto the commissioner agenda. He stated if this is such a big deal he will kill digital emergency dispatching from the county. Hoferer stated that this was a violation of the open meeting law. Hegg said that every department in the county needs to prioritize their POOL/PACT wish list. He said from this point forward try to keep all grant items on the commissioner meeting agenda.

EMD software

After the heated discussion regarding Adams not placing the POOL/PACT grant submission on the last agenda for emergency medical dispatching, the item was on the agenda for approval. The item went back to bringing all grant items back in front of the board. Price asked why Hoferer was singling out the sheriff’s office. The grant is used for emergency medical dispatching which allows dispatchers to walk citizens through life saving measures until help can arrive. Discussion between Hoferer and Adams continued to discuss the issues about now bringing the grant applications before the board. Price made a motion of forgiveness of Adams applying for the POOL/PACT Risk Management grant for the software. Samson asked how much the grant was. Adams said it was $37,000 and the match was $9,300. She also explained she appreciated Hoferer standing up and being transparent with county funds. Adams explained again that he is just applying for this grant and doesn’t why he needs permission to get free money. The motion was made to forgive the sheriff to apply for the grant. Hegg and Price voted aye. Hoferer would not vote.

Migrating information

The sheriff asked the commissioners “For consideration and possible action relative to paying ADS to migrate the information on that system into a usable format for future referencing.” Adams said for $1,500 this can be saved into a usable format. The information is arrest records, local information, etc. Hoferer said they should jump on it – if it only costs $1,500. The motion was made to allow the sheriff to migrate records not to exceed $1,500. Motion passed.

Sale of parcel

Dana Cardwell petitioned the board to sell parcel #001-145-01, 690 J Street in Hawthorne. Clerk Chris Nepper said it is trust property. The commissioners moved to get the property into the trust sale.

School to careers

Lawrence asked the commissioners if he could hire a third school to careers student. The payroll will have benefits for an additional student of $3,580. The students each work 12 hours a day. He stated the cost will be $850 for the additional student. They can’t go over 19 hours a week.

Army Depot

Lawrence asked for the approval of a mutual aid agreement between Mineral County Fire and the Hawthorne Fire Department. The only changes are names. Motion passed.

Hazmat Conference

Hughes asked for approval to proceed with the submission of the annual Hazmat Conference in conjunction with Fire Shows West Conference grant through the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) for eight attendees. The cost of the conference will be $8,140 which will be reimbursed to the county. The motion passed.

Mina well

Grant asked the commissioners to approve the Mina new well project. The project was under budget – so Grant will need to return some of the monies. The commissioners voted to accept the new Mina well. Motion passed.

Trunk or Treat

Christina Boyles, park and recreation coordinator asked the commissioners to close the roads (portion of A Street, turning east on Sixth Street to C Street) from the junior high gym to the YCAC for the second annual trunk or treat on Saturday, Oct. 26 starting at 5 to 7 p.m. Schyler Hagen with cooperative extension is working with Mineral County Park and Recreation for this event. Boyles said that Glenn Bunch believes there will be enough search and rescue volunteers to close the streets. Price made a motion to allow park and recreation to allow search and rescue to close the road contingent on the sheriff’s decision.

Cliffs project

Price asked for a letter of support for the Walker Basin Conservancy Project at the Walker Lake Cliffs. He explained that Jeff Bryant of the conservancy reached out to him to do a project in Mineral County. There will be a walking trail from Sportsman’s Beach to State Beach which runs on the cliff side of Highway 95. A letter from the commissioners is needed for approval of this project. Bryant will come down and meet with the commissioners on Price’s invitation.

Commissioner recognition

Price stated that the county’s thoughts go out to the family of former building inspector Mike Fontaine who passed away. They will send flowers. The car show events went well he also said.