The Caliente City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 19.

The council approved a business license for Noorda BEC Inc/Christian Noord. Noorda is a licensed and insured contractor who specializes in metal wall panel systems. While the company’s offices are Utah, it has a Nevada State business license.

Trudy Faulkner requested and was approved for a reduction in her water bill, after explaining a hose was left on while she was out of town.

The Lincoln County High School student council was granted permission to have a homecoming bonfire at Caliente Industrial Park Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. A fire truck and members of the fire department will be on-site. The students will be bussed in.

John Ahlstrom and Dawn Magnum, who are taking over for Brent Perkins and Ann Smith as data collectors for the Desert Research Institute, told the council the station tracks temperature, rainfall, wind speed, gamma radiation and radioactive particles in the air. Data is gathered three times a week and every other week the results are sent in to DRI in Las Vegas.

Next, the council discussed a resolution to create a utility standby fee of $10 per utility per month on each vacant home/lot in the city.

Deputy City Clerk Amanda Anderson said she’s been getting a lot of calls about the charges from people who don’t have any services on their property. Councilman Tommy Rowe opined that the council should rescind the fee immediately and study more appropriate measures.

Attorney Franklin Katschke pointed out that, “The city is not charging people the $10.00 per utility; it comes up to $14.43. Some of the charges make sense. If there is a fire on vacant property, the fire department still responds, so there are good reasons to have certain charges.”

A motion was carried to rescind the resolution.

Revising the city’s utility connecting and upgrade fees was tabled to look into a fee plus cost impact fee. Lee Bradshaw asked what the fee for a hookup is. He was told it’s $2,500 per hookup. Rowe said, “That’s $7,500 before you can start anything. I think that’s ridiculous.”

Councilman Jamin Hunter said a study determined the fee is no higher than any in Pioche or Panaca.

Ken Dixon, building inspector, explained, “When this ordinance was passed, the intent was to make up for the maintenance for the utility. It was not a fee for installation, it was an impact fee to address the future maintenance of all the utilities.”

The council voted in favor of renewing Katschke’s contract from Oct. 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021. This will fall in line with the fiscal calendar.

The issue of weeds around the fire hydrants in the city was discussed. The city has been steadily cleaning up the problem.

Next, Dixon noted the state inspector will be visiting to investigate a state license for Vireo Health of Nevada. He added that “Clover Creek will be setting up modulars next week, working on their greenhouses. Caliente Development is trying to get a trailer set up out there, at Brackenburys” for the purposes of obtaining a state license. Dixon also commented that letters have gone out about the importance of cleaning up weeds in order to prevent fires. The letter was also sent to the City of Caliente.

Rowe commented that “We should have cleaned up our own backyard before sending the letters out.”

Next, council members reported on their individual committees.

Councilman Sean FitzSimons said the Beautification Committee had its meeting Sept. 17. The committee is now under the umbrella of the city, so agendas will be posted. Items discussed were the steam engine coming Oct. 5, removing weeds by the fence and the Depot tree lighting Nov. 30.

He also added the committee will soon have a new chair and treasurer.

Rowe said he went to the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA) meeting Sept. 16 on behalf of the Community Development/Planning Committee. The main concern discussed was the kiosks. The next meeting will be held at city hall Nov. 4.

Mayor Steve Rowe then spoke. He said, “Amanda Anderson has been doing a great job of holding everything together, and the girl from Workforce has been doing very well.” He added that Mahal Empire Films will be filming a movie in town starting Oct. 5. Filming will last 18 days.

Rowe also noted there have still been some power bill problems. He spoke personally to individuals with questions and believes the matter is being settled appropriately and to people’s satisfaction.

During public comment, Bonni Smith said she’s seen city workers driving through the stop sign by the school during school hours. She also suggested the Community Room not be rented out on meeting nights.

Anderson said, “We don’t keep track of who uses that room; the Art Council scheduled that. I will suggest in the future to check with us or not to schedule on council nights.”

The next meeting will be Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. The Lincoln County Planning Commission will give its monthly report.