Caliente Mayor George T. Rowe resigned as mayor during the July 19 city council meeting, due to the state retirement system withholding benefits because of the position.
The mayor read a statement from Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System, which said, “Your retirement benefits have been suspended until you terminate your employment with the City of Caliente per ordinance NRS 286.51.”
Rowe added, “I regret having to leave this position with the city I love and the wonderful citizens of Caliente and Lincoln County.”
The gavel was then turned over to Councilman Victor Jones. It took a moment for this to sink in with the crowd, as Rowe walked out of the office the Council Chambers.
During public comment, various residents commented about concerns with deer in their yards, trampling pets, eating vegetation, as well possibly drawing predators such as coyotes and mountain lions to town.
In particular, Tom Devuono, a lifelong Caliente resident, expressed his anger at having his family dog, Tank, attacked by a deer, incurring a $3,000 vet bill so far. He wants deer feeding stations to be removed and/or fined. Devuono also expressed that Fish and Game should do a count. For every 50 deer, a tag should be issued, worth $15,000-$20,000. That fund would then help pay for deer damage.
Game Warden John Anderson agreed with Devuono’s comments regarding the illegality of people putting out food and water for deer. He stated that people can call 775-688-1332 to report such incidents and he will then issue a citation.
He further noted that Nevada is a fence-out state, “so if you don’t want deer in your yard, you have to build a fence high enough to keep them out.”
Anderson explained that people can attempt to scare off the animals so long as they’re not harmed. For instance, people can scream at them or shoot them with a paintball gun, but not with a BB gun or pellet gun.
Finally, Anderson pointed out that for the first few weeks or longer, a doe will leave a fawn in a secure place and will later return to feed them. Those fawns are not abandoned and people should stay away from them.
There is going to be a statewide board meeting in Caliente August 10-11. State wildlife commissioner will be in attendance and the public will be welcome.
Also during public comment, concern was expressed about underage drivers in four-wheelers who aren’t buckled in or wearing helmets are going well above the speed limit.
Devuono stated that his concern is not the four-wheelers so much as the dust they produce, the danger they can pose, and the fact that vehicles may not be registered. He requested that Nevada state law be enforced, including putting up signs to remind people of speed limits and registration rules. Because it’s typically kids driving the four-wheelers, Devuono stated that parents should be cited and fined. If appropriate action isn’t taken, then the vehicle should be impounded.
Other people noted that they’ve called in complaints and have gotten no response.
Jones stated that people can call the Lincoln County sheriff’s office or go to county commission meetings and express their concerns.
City Attorney Dylan Frehner added that if no response is forthcoming, people can file a complaint with the district attorney.
Following these discussions, the need to appoint a new mayor was noted. The position will need to be advertised, per regulations.
Joan Cockrill commented that Jones should be the city’s next mayor and some voiced agreement.
The next meeting will be August 2.