With all current board members present, the Jan. 10 Pioche Town Board meeting opened with John Christian as chair.
A packet containing previously requested reports and correspondence was in front of each board member. From time to time the chair would ask, “Do we have…?” Secretary Tayler Riefsnyder or manager Nathan Adams would respond, “In the packet.”
Riefsnyder reminded board members of the training meeting (Ethics) on Jan.18th. All members were asked to go.
Elections were held. As they followed the tradition of seniority voting, only one name was nominated for each potion. With vice chair Cindy Free’s recent resignation, that left Phyllis Robistow elected chair and Tom Brown to vice chair. These positions are held for two years. The board is still short one member.
Christian stood down and Robistow ran the meeting from then on.
Easements were still being worked on for the curb and gutter project on 4th, Gold and Silver streets.
Agenda item 7, Pioche Public Utilities call out hours, was rescheduled for the Feb. 14 meeting as no attorney was present to address legal concerns.
Discussion were had concerning purchasing the old Bank of America building, the town’s current building and the high cost of repairs. An alternative was the Washington Federal building valued at $78,000. It was suggested that an offer of $20,000 be made. Maybe they could write off the difference. A vote passed on the motion to write a letter directly to Washington Federal and a copy to the realtor.
Concerning advertizing now for a swimming pool manager Robistow said, “Our original thinking was to get it done so that by march we’ve got somebody to start looking at lifeguards.” Whether hiring within or not, it was decided the position should be advertised. A vote passed to advertize for a pool manager passed.
Dan McArthur, C.P.A. and independent auditor for Pioche, stepped forward with his requested analysis. He handed board members looseleaf binders with six tabbed sections. He than gave a very lengthy and needed explanation on transferring utilities to the county.
The three main options considered were: Pioche keeping all three utilities, transferring the electrical to Lincoln County Power District, and transferring the water to Lincoln County Water District. This created multiple variables.
McArthur cited where revenues would increase, decrease and totally disappear. He gave sample customers and what their monthly sewer, power and water bills would look like.
McArthur based his analysis on a five-year history of Pioche’s utilities. He cautioned the board that he could not factor in unknowns such as what power would cost in the future.
At no point was McArthur to calculate the laying off of utility employees. They were to be absorbed into the other utilities. This created more variables.
His bottom line was that rates would have to be increased under either option to break even.
When McArthur finished his presentation, jokes went around that he hadn’t given them a win-win option but a bite-the-bullet situation. The general feeling of the board was that this information had to be digested. One point of discussion was that the cost of running the swimming pool was a driving factor in the budget issue.
At one point Wade Poulsen of LCWD gave his projected five-year plan if the water was transferred to LCWD. Years one and two might run at a loss, year three break even and years four and five build some revenue.