I would like to give my opinion and clarify several misunderstandings to the people of Lincoln County. I want to be very clear that I am only giving my opinion, and not representing the other Commissioners. I have lived here in Lincoln County for 60 years. Not only was I born and raised here, but it is my desire to continue out my life here. My wife and I have enjoyed raising our 7 children in Pahranagat Valley.
The new funds acquired were due to extensive research that indicated Nye County was being paid significantly more than Lincoln County for Federal Government owned facilities that border and even overlap Lincoln County and Nye County. The research showed a great disparity and the challenge was to somehow narrow that disparity. The actions taken to acquire these funds were solely for the benefit of Lincoln County and it?s citizens.
The new funds have caused controversy. I want to be very clear that the money obtained was done so abiding by the law. It was always done under the direction of legal counsel from all parties involved. There were no secret meetings. Discussions were held with people whose job it is to keep classified information secure. This is the only way progress could be made. Every vote or action by the Commission has been properly agendized. Nothing was done that was unethical or even improper. We followed the law and we did not deviate from what the legal counsel on all sides agreed upon.
The County Commission does not have or ever had any of this money in our possession. All funds coming into the County go to the County Treasurer for apportionment. The Commission only has control of the percentage of funds apportioned through the proper county protocols. On your property tax bill you will see funding that has been apportioned to departments or organizations by your County Treasurer.
My personal hope for this new money is for a fair amount to be placed where it can be accessed for capital improvements. Let me share some of the needs I see
- Curb and sidewalks for safety to and from essential services
- Add turning lanes to the major state highways
- Upgrading the County roads that receive heavy traffic
- Weeds control in our towns
- Improved town signing and lighting
- Older county building maintenance, renovations and repairs
- Provide tax relief for Lincoln County citizens through this recession
I know there is not enough money to accomplish all desires, but with smart decisions, working together and wise management of the yearly funds, we can see positive long term impacts on Lincoln County.
My sole purpose as a Commissioner is to better Lincoln County and fight for the people. There may be some of you who still do not understand this matter. I respect your individual opinions and thoughts and I would be happy to talk to any of you personally. I take pride in being honest and doing what is morally right. I look to our forefathers as my heroes. Let us remember our Constitution and may it guide our lives. I believe my actions have been lawful and beneficial to Lincoln County. My fellow Commissioners are great men and we are working hard for you, in hopes to better your life as well as our children and grandchildren.
Commissioner Edwin Higbee Jr.
Many of the people I speak with regarding the Board?s flagrant violations of the law and ethics concerns tell me they don?t believe the Attorney General will take any action to correct the questionable and probably criminal actions of the Board in the Ashley Hall affair. I do not agree with them, however. It is my opinion the office of the Attorney General will not ignore the concerns of the people of Lincoln County and that she will conduct a thorough investigation despite her status as a ?lame duck? official. Then again, there?s always the federal authorities.
Regarding the Board?s proposed resolution to arbitrarily decide to give the County Road Supervisor the same salary as the elected sheriff (following a fair amount of protest from the people), the Board decided to do a classification study and more research. It appears they were convinced they should not compare an appointive employee with an elected official, but they said they had compared the position to an elected official because they wanted to give the ?position? the same benefits awarded to elected officials by the Legislature. Gee, if they wanted to do that, wouldn?t those persons have to run for elected office, or would this have been another violation of the law on the part of the Board?
Imagine my surprise when I learned the Road Supervisor has been doing his job and the Assistant Supervisor?s job for over a year not without a raise. Don?t you normally get a raise when you get a promotion? Not only that, he had not received a raise for many years prior to his promotion. Perhaps the Board should take some of the $11,500 they appropriated for the ?remodeling? of their chambers and give this employee a raise? In addition, then the Board would not have money around on ?fixing? their seating to make it so they can face each other at meetings and not have to face the people who elected them. In addition, since the representatives from Mesquite were forced to sit in the hall during the meeting due to lack of seating, perhaps now is not the time to decrease the number of seats provided to the people.
The Workshop was conducted at 1 p.m. and after much discussion, the Board voted to move the monies from the General Fund into a ?new general fund? to be under Cory Lytle to use in capital projects. As usual, Paul Donohue was the only board member who opposed this action because the money would not be available for things like giving the County employees raises and other necessary expenditures. Daniel Hooge advised the Board could get to the money if needed. If you can believe it, at one point Kevin Phillips actually said he wanted the money hidden so the Teamsters could not find it and want raises for the County?s employees. Phillips wanted tighter restrictions on the money and voted against the resolution. He still contends an expansion of the jail would result in benefits to the people. He will not acknowledge Enterprise Funds collected by the jail never, ever, go into the General Fund and will not benefit the people. Makes you wonder what Phillips? hidden agenda is for building a Justice Center for tens of millions of dollars we don?t have and should not finance through private or public means? We?re nearly broke, right?
Carol White, Pioche
What has happened to common courtesy? Many have wondered the same thing.
When we have an appointment with a repairman to come to our home and he doesn?t show up, it would be appreciated if he called to let us know why.
Virginia Savage, Pioche