The Pioche Town Board met on Jan. 15.

District Attorney Dylan Frehner introduced his Deputy District, Attorney April Bradshaw.

Then, Manager Nathan Adams reported the summary of the financial reports.

How Caselton Tank Drawings is being reported on the cash balance report was discussed at length. Chairman Tom Brown wanted to ensure the expense is being reported under the expenses for Caselton. Office manager Kelbee Cheeney explained that there are a few different invoices.

Phyllis Robistow inquired whether the expenses should be taken from the capital fund. Cheeney said she would verify where the expense is being reported and assured the board that she will look into tracking Caselton’s expenses further.

Next, DA Frehner advised the board that Tom Brown was appointed as an interim chairman and a motion was carried to install him officially as chairman.

Discussion regarding Pioche Public Utilities (PPU)/Pioche’s final budget review was tabled since Dan McArthur wasn’t present.

8-Mile Farms request to lease 3000 acre feet of water from PPU for more than five years was discussed.

John Christian suggested that an advertisement be put out to the public that PPU is accepting bids on leasing of water rights. This will prevent the public from thinking such rights are only available to 8-Mile Farms.

Chairman Brown and DA Frehner discussed who is responsible for drawing up a contract to lease water. Dylan stated it is in the best interest of the PPU to always draft contracts to protect itself.

Glenn Zelch offered to work with Adams to create a resolution to satisfy the NRS requirements. That document will then need to be vetted by DA Frehner and the board and presented to the county to be adopted as a resolution.

Tracy Lee addressed the board regarding information technology pertaining to Lincoln County’s billing software and VOIP integration.

Since PPU’s server crashed over the summer, PPU has been switched over to the county network on Lee’s virtual system at the courthouse. Since PPU is able to use terminal services, Lee is requesting funds be allocated for approximately three hundred dollars to purchase two terminal service licenses so two workstations can work simultaneously. The terminal service licenses would be valid until Microsoft upgrades its virtual server.

Lee then explained long-term concerns with bandwidth; currently the internet is providing required bandwidth but experiencing latency issues. Since the office is relocating into the town hall at some point in the near future, waiting until then to install fiber optic cables would be in the best interest of PPU.

Lee also discussed the pros and cons of a VOIP system. VOIP includes integrated voicemail, easy transfer within county departments, and allows for separate extensions within one line throughout PPU office. Though the service is costly, PPU will be saving money by eliminating a long-distance phone bill.

The purchase is a one-time charge until PPU is required to upgrade to the new Microsoft system; no less than three years, but no more than five years.

There was further discussion, centering around the high cost of the software plus the additional utility billing program, approximately $10,000 to $15,000.

Lee noted that he is trying to be proactive to eliminate losing data like the PPU experienced when the server crashed this past summer.

No immediate action was taken on the matter.

Next, Adams updated the board on efforts to hire a long-term employee as a successor for the town manager. Adams expressed concern that if the board waits too long to hire a successor, his replacement will not be familiar with system. He stated that if PPU adopts and creates an incentive pay scale, PPU could be comparable with the county pay scale.

Chairman Brown reminded the board why they decided to approve the current pay scale; the previous pay scale forced limits on the pay steps and the current pay scale gave the board more freedom to approve pay increases as they see fit.

There was further discussion, culminating in questions about what certifications and licenses potential employees are required to obtain and how PPU tends to assist in obtaining them. No immediate action was take on the matter.

Returning to the matter of pay scale, the board discussed its current policy. DA Frehner explained the county retirement plan through PERS. Adams expressed that he would like to see the PPU adopt a specified grade on the county pay scale for each position.

Christian recommended updating the employee contracts. He noted that the board needs to decide the type of agreement they are going to adopt.

Frehner recommended the board update the PPU manager’s contract first, then proceed with labor agreements for other employees.

Brown asked the PPU staff to prepare pay scale and agreements. Then a special meeting can be called, as needed, to further address the matter.

Adams would also like to hold a special meeting for the electrical engineering study report to be reviewed upon completion. He has been informed the study will be completed this month.

In his manager’s report, Adams informed the board that the Christmas decorations have been taken down and replaced with chamber banners. He has worked on a few water leaks, sewer issues, and moved a lot of snow around.

Brown asked for an update on equipment, specifically the loader. Adams reported the issues have been addressed and fixed; the loader is currently operational.

Christian and Adams discussed future maintenance of PPU equipment.

On the agenda for future meeting is moving the PPU office to town hall, utility worker II’s job description, labor agreements (special meeting or next regular meeting), and detailed resolution for NRS 533.550.