On Dec. 18, 2018, the Pioche Town Board met.
The minutes from the November meeting were approved. Nathan Adams then presented the financial reports to the board and public. Adams noted a large expenditure for Sunrise Engineering services in Caselton. Candice Mortenson asked if Caselton’s water payments are being made to the Pioche Public Utilities (PPU). Adams explained that they are because, 25 years ago, the whole town got a new pipeline put through it in two or three phases. In order to put that line in, they went door to door to get money from the people in Caselton for materials and supplies.
Mortenson asked about the project to repair the tank. Adams reviewed the Caselton project that has been submitted to the state to replace the pipeline to the tank. Glenn Zelch stated that, over a year ago, PPU started tracking revenue and expenses for Caselton.
John Christian and Kelbee Cheeney discussed November’s expense report. Christian stated that the net operating income was a $30,000 loss, which was a surprising amount since it’s getting colder. Adams noted that Lincoln County Power Department probably read its meter a week or so before PPU, which could have caused the discrepancy. Phyllis Robistow noted that has this always been a problem. Adams stated that it averages out throughout the year.
There was an extensive discussion regarding 8 Mile Farms’ request to lease 300 acre feet of water from Pioche Public Utilities for more than five years.
Adams shared County Commissioner Bevin Lister’s concerns, as he was unable to attend the meeting and called Adams the previous night. Bevin strongly disagrees with the state engineer’s office about taking a cut on water rights.
DA Dylan Frehner discussed the difference in usage between agricultural and municipal water rights and noted statute NRS 533.550, which provides direction regarding the leasing of water rights.
Christian discussed having Frehner create a document to outline the criteria for PPU to lease water according to NRS 533.550. Frehner discussed the criteria within the statute that will need to be met and noted that he believes that Bevin is looking for a 20-year lease to recuperate his costs. Uncomfortable with such an extended lease, Zelch would like to continue to study and satisfy the requirements within the NRS 533.550. Christian’s motions for such a study was carried.
Keith Larson addressed the board regarding a prototype of bike racks he’s created where the bike hangs on an eight-foot rack and the owner of the bike provides the lock. He wanted to know if there’s any interest in purchasing the bike racks. The basic rack costs $250, plus extra for air pump and tools.
Zelch asked if it would be helpful to have a rack at the park and one at the park uptown. Adams thought that the racks could be useful around town. Zelch said funds to purchase the rack could come from the park grant. The motion to purchase the racks was carried.
Nathan explained that he advertised to fill the position for Utility Worker 1 because there are a lot of jobs that need to be done. After discussion, and a failed motion to change the ad in paper from Utility Worker 1 to Operator, Nathan requested that the board not postpone the decision for three or four months.
Christian expressed his concern regarding PPU employee pay scales and merit raises. Nathan recommended the board adopt the county pay scale. John requested that the operator’s job description and the county pay scale be brought to the next town board meeting. Dan McArthur will be present at the next meeting to go over the end of 2018 fiscal year budget.
Cheeney and Adams discussed the $50 fee for reconnection during work hours and $75 reconnect fee for after-hours. Zelch stated that customers should not have to pay this fee one time a year. Christian discussed requests to have a service turned on or off being made in writing two days in advanced. No action was taken on the matter.
Adam’s top project on the RTC list is the curb and gutter on Airport Road in front of the elementary school, down to Lee Drive to Silver Street; this project would include a catch basin, culvert, and sidewalks to keep water out of the road. The estimate he received for the project was about $10,000. There was discussion regarding the cheapest option for project construction. Robistow requested Nathan get the completed project list together for the next board meeting because it is budget season.
Mortenson asked if people are moving forward with buying the mill and are requesting to have PPU install utilities. Adams stated they are. He is preparing an estimate for them.
Mortenson stated, that five or six years ago, the owners of the Ely Valley Mine donated the blacksmith’s shop to Pioche. She feels it would be a great addition to the Pioche attractions. Mortenson and the board discussed the pros and cons of the mill and/or blacksmith shop being turned into a tourist attraction.
Adams reported NDOT has said that it has money allocated for the intersection uptown in 2020 as well as a bike path from Hutching Motel to the elementary school.
Zelch inquired about the flood debris in front of the Channel of Light on Main St. It was reported that there has been some discussion about a sediment basin there but no decisions have been made yet.
Adams reported the commissioners gave county employees Christmas Eve off. Bevin Lister will be the commissioner for this district, presiding over the Pioche Town Board. Nathan stated the goal for the year is more effective communication between himself, customers, employees, commissioners, and the town board. Robistow noted the commissioners complimented Nathan on his performance.
Frehner would like the board to look into grants and funds available for bike trails. He pointed out that the contracts for PPU employees are outdated and requested a group effort to get them updated.
Frehner has purchased 30 acres on Lime Hill down to the cemetery. At this time he would like to set up the easements for the utility lines through the property.
On the agenda for the next meeting are the job description for Operator/Worker II, pay scales, filling the Utility Worker I or II position, and the Dan McArthur 2018 budget review.