The Pioche Town Board held a special meeting May 21.
During public comment, Carol White addressed the board regarding the voluntary community cleanup.
White cited the 2017 census statistics relating to Lincoln County. She expressed concern about imposing fines to property owners for code violations due to the percentage of residents that live below the poverty line and town board members acting as code enforcement officers which are allowed to enforce codes at property owners’ expense. All citations issued impose up to a $2,500 fine daily which repeats every day that the individual is not in compliance. Eventually such cases go to civil court and can end up in criminal court.
White stated that this means enforcers will be punishing the less economically fortunate individuals of Lincoln County. She noted that she did not understand why the board would let the Chamber of Commerce take over the voluntary cleanup. White researched the cost of the bins Lytle is providing for free to select residents at a cost of $578 for 14 days. She said that if someone is cited their property might as well be seized because they might not be able to afford the cost of a bin.
Chairman Tom Brown said he was not aware of anyone being cited. He added that the Chamber of Commerce is not an organization associated with the town board. They make requests to the board and vice versa. This is an issue the chamber has worked on with the county. Brown stated that anyone on the board or who has a concern about the voluntary clean-up is welcome to speak with Lytle. If the county decides to provide a bin free of charge to clean up a resident’s property, that is between the county and that individual.
There was extensive back and forth between White, Brown and Glenn Zelch on the matter.
White noted that in the past when there has been a voluntary community clean-up there have been brightly colored signs posted everywhere and it was also posted on utility bills. If notices are only sent to select individuals, according to White, that does not constitute a voluntary community clean-up. Zelch stated the board did not send out notices, the county did. He added that it is the board’s responsibility to accept complaints and hand them off to the commissioners. White expressed her disagreement.
Louis Benezet then addressed the board. He explained that he is attempting to save the Mountain View Hotel from being torn down. He feels it is a historical landmark to Pioche and would hate to see it turned into a parking lot for the Million Dollar Courthouse, suggested by some individuals. He stated that he would like to keep the town board informed about the situation regarding the building. The board expressed appreciation for the update.
Town Manager Nathan Adams read the financial report aloud. He and the Caselton residents present at the meeting discussed the report.
The board decided a discussion regarding Pioche Public Utilities Electrical Distribution System Capitol Facilities and Work Plan would be tabled until Lincoln County Power District’s Dave Luttrell is present.
Phyllis Robistow stated the district attorney will need to look over and approve the resolution to create a Pioche Public Utility Water Reserve Fund before it’s sent to the commissioners. A motion to send the resolution to the district attorney was carried.
Other motions carried included a resolution to create a Pioche Public Utility Sewer Reserve Fund and Pioche Public Utility Electric Reserve Fund.
With regards on how to proceed with the Caselton Water Project, Adams explained that approval has been issued by the state for the project. Given the state of the pipelines, as discussed at a previous meeting, Adams explained this project needs to be prioritized as an emergency. He contacted a plumbing company for an estimate for the parts required and the estimate came in at less than half of what the engineer expected.
Adams requested permission from the board to open a bid for the lowest possible cost of supplies required for this project, and get the section of pipes replaced as quickly as possible. A motion was carried to proceed with the project.
Gary McBride expressed his appreciation to the board for its consideration and getting the issue quickly resolved. The board and public discussed the possibility of this project causing a rate increase for Caselton residents.
Regarding the possibility of leasing water rights, Zelch stated his concern regarding Bill AB30. If the permitted water rights are not being used, municipals could be at risk of losing them. Brown asked District Attorney Dylan Frehner if he believed Pioche’s water rights were being threatened if not in use. Frehner stated that in the past the only municipals that lost permitted rights were those that had more water rights than they could ever utilize.
Benezet asked who would be leasing the water. Brown explained that Pioche is looking to open up 300 acre feet annually of water for bid to the public. Adams suggested running an ad in the paper seeking proposals. Frehner and the board discussed municipal water rights versus other types of permitted water rights. Benezet inquired about how much water Pioche would be leasing out and what the lease contract would entail. The board and Benezet further discussed water lease proposals. A motion was carried to advertise that the town is accepting bid proposals of leasing water rights for two weeks due by June 14, 2019.
During the manager’s report Adams explained issues with the mowers and preparing the park for summer. The pool opening will be delayed because lifeguard training will not start until June 14. Two individuals have been rehired that have current certifications but the pool manual requires three certified lifeguards on duty.
Adams stated that when the summer help starts, this will free up time for him and other employees to begin the Caselton Water Project. He is attempting to work with the Nevada Division of Forestry on a fuel reduction grant as much as possible at the agreed monthly rate.
Adams and Zelch discussed the upcoming properties that have agreed to be part of the community clean-up. Board members also discussed the quarterly pumpage reports.
Robistow reported the county commissioners approved the budget.