Jeffrey Fontaine

Jeffrey Fontaine, former director of the Nevada Association of Counties, former deputy director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, and current part-time Executive Director of the Humboldt River Basin Water Authority, has been chosen as the new executive director of the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority.

Fontaine, of Carson City, will replace Mike Baughman, who is retiring from the position at the end of the year. Baughman, president of Intertech Services Corporation in Carson City, began as a consultant with the county in 1979 and became LCRDA executive director in 1994.

The decision for the new director was made at the Dec. 4 meeting of the LCRDA. Five candidates were each interviewed individually by the seven members of the authority in the absence of the other candidates.

Each was asked to give a three-minute presentation as to why they should be selected as the new executive director. Each candidate was also asked three questions: (1) Can you identify three key elements of an effective initiative to retain and expand existing business and industry in Lincoln County? (2) What types of industry do you believe should be targeted for relocation or expansion in Lincoln County? (3) Can you identify and describe three constraints you believe exist to attracting new industry to Lincoln County and describe what you might recommend be done to overcome one of such identified constraints?

Authority members also felt that the person chosen needed to have experience working with the Nevada Legislature, state and federal agencies, and the U.S. Congress.

After reviewing all the candidates and their answers to the questions, the board felt Fontaine was the most qualified and voted to offer him the position.

Fontaine, raised in Bethlehem, PA, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1976, a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston in 1979, and a Master of Public and Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Development Authority. During my career in Nevada, I have worked in Lincoln County and met a lot of people there.There is some great potential for the county in terms of economic development and diversification.”

Fontaine and his wife live in Carson City and have a son in high school and twins, a boy and a girl, in eighth grade.

In other news, Baughman reviewed the ongoing discussions with 7X Energy and Heelstone Energy regarding the possible interest in developing utility scale solar projects at Coyote Springs.

Another company, Solariant, is continuing to show interest in utilizing pinyon and juniper biomass derived in Lincoln County for use in manufacturing industrial wood pellets for export to Asian markets.

In addition, Baughman reported he had taken representatives of Solariant to meet with Emilia Cargill, senior vice president and general counsel for Coyote Springs, to discuss possible development of a utility scale solar project on CSI lands.

LCRDA chair Dave Hurd commented he has not had a lot of success in dealing with BLM staff members on encouraging industrial utilization of pinyon and juniper. However, Authority member Varlin Higbee said on his recent visit with BLM officials in Washington, D.C., he felt that under the new administration there does seem to be more of a sense of support for biomass utilization. It was his opinion that it was BLM middle management which was the problem.

On another issue, Hurd said it was his belief that the Board of County Commissioners had appropriately declined to allow the sale, distribution, or growing of medical or recreational marijuana in the county.

Members of the Caliente City Council have discussed the issue of how to proceed with regulations/licensing/zoning of marijuana related businesses in the city limits. They also heard a presentation at a recent meeting on whether to approve or deny a marijuana cultivation license to Warren Eizman and Bert Cox.

Another approve or deny issue dealt with a request for a cultivation and production license to Todd Davis Genus Cannabis, LLC, and whether to approve or deny Eizman and Cox a request for possible use of the Meadow Valley Industrial Park or other city property.

A fourth item dealt with approving or denying Bert and Nancy Cox to annex a 40-acre parcel of land to the City of Caliente. The parcel, owned by Cox, is contiguous to city territory.