The Pioche Town Board met July 16. Cameron Boyce and Phyllis Robistow were not present so a quorum was not met.

After last meeting’s minutes were approved, Nathan Adams read a letter received from Greenfield regarding the easements requested to complete the Caselton Water Project. John Christian asked how Pioche Public Utilities (PPU) will address the environmental hazards mentioned in the letter. Adams explained that he would follow up with the state engineer and continue investigating the matter.

Chairman Tom Brown recommended conducting a soil test to confirm how hazardous the material is.

Kelbee Cheeney discussed how the county is converting over to a new system and financial reports are still not available at this time.

A review of a plan of action regarding PPU’s electrical distribution system capital facilities and workplaces was tabled until next meeting when all members are present and a response from Dan McArthur has been received.

Last month the board requested the issue of merit increases for PPU/Pioche town employees be added to the agenda for discussion. Adams explained that a three percent raise was budgeted for this year and a three percent COLA raise was approved at the last board meeting. The commissioners did not agree with the word “COLA raise” but approved a three percent raise for all PPU employees. Christian said raises need to be based on merit and employees need to be topped out before a COLA raise should be considered. No action was taken at this time.

The board and Adams discussed proposed bids to lease up to 300 acre feet of water annually. The state engineer has been consulted and options have been discussed. After some back and forth, Glenn Zelch volunteered to meet with District Attorney Dylan Frehner to create a suitable agreement for leasing water rights. The board and Pat Kelley further discussed leasing options, and how the agreement will protect the town’s water rights. The board agreed to have Glenn Zelch meet with Frehner to create an agreement which will be brought to the next board meeting for further discussion.

Lethe Poulson addressed the board next. He requested approval for an Eagle Scout project to install three park benches at the park in the play area. He explained the project will be completed through volunteers and requested that the town provide the materials. Lethe provided two separate estimate options for the board to discuss. Adams expressed his recommendation that the project be approved as the park is utilized daily and benches in the play area are needed. Lethe explained where he would like to place the benches and what type of benches he feels would match the picnic tables already installed at the park. Adams and the board discussed the funding for the materials needed to complete the project. A motion was passed for Adams and Lethe to work together to complete the project with a budget of $1500. Adams and the board then discussed the woodchips installed at the park play area.

Adams requested approval for a Pioche grade school drainage project he would like to complete to eliminate a lot of water runoff causing damage to the homes in the area and also lessening Airport Road’s water erosion. He gave board members maps that diagrammed the proposed project and noted he had received an estimate for $21,000 from a contractor. RTC money can be utilized to complete this project.

Adams asked to put the project out for bid.

Chairman Brown noted the project can also be broken up into phases if RTC is unable to fund the entire project. Pat Kelley expressed his concerns with the priority of flood control projects. Adams explained that he’s only proposing to create a culvert to drain runoff water that accumulates from the elementary school into the existing detention basin.

A motion was carried for Adams to move forward with the project but a motion to use RTC money for funding died due to lack of a vote.

Stephanie Allen asked if there was any planning completed before the school was built to prevent such drainage issues. The board explained that all permits and planning were done through the county.

A motion to install curbs and gutters on the north side of Airport Road died due to lack of a second.

After extensive further discussion, including noting that any curb and gutter installed will be beneficial and an improvement for Pioche, Nick Poulson stated he thought it would be best to consult an engineer about the project. Adams explained the project was created and recommended by an engineer. The item was eventually tabled.

In regards to a water line loop project to the Pioche elementary school, Adams explained this project has been tabled for several years. The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) plans to install a bike lane/walking path on the east side of Liquor St. going north toward the elementary school. Adams expressed his opinion that this project could benefit the PPU. Installing the water lines before the NDOT lays the asphalt will save a lot of money for the town. The project also moves the town closer to completing the water loop at the elementary school.

Adams explained at the time the grade school was built the water pressure fell short of state regulation. The state issued a waiver in order to allow the school to open. The loop with the proper water lines down Liquor St. would bring the school water pressure up to regulation, and offer access for service lines for any future growth that happens on Liquor St. as well as fire hydrants down to the elementary school.

Adams stated he would not be able to complete the whole project with the budget this year. He would take the line as far as the funds would permit and then cap it off until the new yearly budget was approved.

Christian stated he wants to see the project completed. Chairman Brown disagreed, noting his belief that the Caselton Water Project should be the highest priority at this time. Adams agreed, noting that this project has already been on the back burner since 2008 anyway. However, he pointed out that it’s his duty to keep board members informed about projects that have not been completed.

During his manager’s report, Adams gave a brief summary of jobs and projects PPU workers have been completing since last board meeting. He stated that he’s looked into a camera for his office as discussed at a previous meeting.

Chairman Brown expressed concern about the rye grass growing around Pioche, which could be a fire hazard. Adams stated he would like to utilize Nevada Fire Department crews to address the issue. He’s currently assessing which parts of town are most infested with rye grass.

During public comment, Stephanie Allen addressed the board asking for assistance with the water runoff from Liquor St. onto her property. She explained if the culverts are cleaned and open the drainage works properly, but if they aren’t open her home gets flooded.

Chairman Brown explained that Liquor Street is a state highway. It would be much easier to get the issue resolved if it was a town or county road. Allen said she can’t afford any more damage to her home because of the NDOT’s negligence.

Allen and the board agreed to ask county commissioners to draft a letter requesting the NDOT address the issue. Chairman Brown said he has attempted to get a meeting scheduled to discuss these issues with the NDOT’s local contact. He will continue to try to schedule a meeting.