The Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA) held a teleconference Sept. 16.
Chairman David Hurd referred to the letter from LCRDA’s Jeff Fontaine pertaining to extending his period of service with Nevada Authority Management, LLC to perform professional services and serve as LCRDA’s professional representative. A motion was passed to extend Fontaine’s contract from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.
Fontaine referred to the Sept. 16, 2019, financial report in the backup material and said it included $925.68 from various service organizations and churches for the community service signs that the NDOT is installing in Lincoln County. Expenses for the current fiscal year were $9,108.50, including professional services, website maintenance and $4,387 for the power auger to install trail kiosks that will be reimbursed by the Nevada Off Highway Vehicle Commission as part of LCRDA’s grant.
Fontaine then said the only invoice pending was $3,483.49 for his professional services since Aug. 13, 2019. A motion was passed to approve the financial report and Fontaine’s invoice.
Fontaine said the kiosks, auger and cement have been shipped to Lincoln County and he’s received approval from all the organizations that will have their logos on the aluminum banner that will go on top of the sign panels. The NDOT hasn’t set a date to install the sign structures but has poured the footings. The sign panels are at the NDOT District Office in Las Vegas. Many of them have already been paid for.
Councilman Tommy Rowe said the city council approved the placement of kiosks in front of the Depot and also near the bulk plant. The city is currently short-staffed but will try to install the kiosk at the Depot before the OHV conference at the end of October.
Fontaine noted trail maps, which are being designed by Nevada Central Media, LLC, won’t be available until next spring. BLM maps will need to be used in the meantime. He suggested the Authority should consider a future agreement with LCAT to keep information in all the kiosks up-to-date.
Regarding Quan Verge Inc’s proposal to utilize pinyon juniper biomass for renewable energy and materials, Fontaine said he is continuing to work with Stephen Clarke and that it appears the best approach to ensuring long- term access to pinyon juniper biomass is for the Development Authority to enter a stewardship agreement with the BLM whereby the Authority can select contractors and manage the project with oversight by the BLM.
Regen Gubler asked about the financial implications to the Development Authority and Fontaine said that will be addressed in a separate agreement between the Development Authority and the chosen contractor. He also said former LCRDA Executive Director Mike Baughman prepared a draft stewardship agreement that could be used as a starting point for discussing such an agreement with the BLM.
Commissioner Varlin Higbee noted the Department of Interior is looking into authorizing 20-year stewardship agreements.
Next, Fontaine said he is continuing to exchange emails with the CEO of Improv Eat about moving the company’s processing operations to Lincoln County. He said Improv has an offer in another state where the community will use a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to construct a building which they will lease and own after ten years. Fontaine said that, while there are not enough rural development grant funds available to Nevada to construct such a building, a local property owner might be willing to offer a lease purchase option on a building in Caliente. He said the Development Authority could consider applying for a rural development grant next spring to offset a portion of a lease/purchase. Fontaine said he would contact the property owner and keep the board informed.
LCAT President Marcia Hurd provided an update on the soft opening of the new mountain bike trails in Caliente and said the Trail Cats received sufficient donations to allow participants to attend for free. Additionally, they have surpassed their registration goals. She said they will be having a “Taste of Lincoln County” on Saturday evening. Hurd discussed several other events and updates, including the OHV Summit in Caliente Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
Fontaine updated the board on the status of Community Development Block Grants. The county’s application for funding to control flooding in Pioche is due Oct. 5.
Fontaine is researching how $2 million, included in Nevada’s 2019 Legislative Session Assembly Bill 84 for the Caliente Depot, can be used. Fontaine said he has heard the new Cooperative Extension agent for Lincoln County has been selected but they are still waiting on the official announcement.
Fontaine said he is still waiting to hear back from the Caliente Youth Center about the status of new staff positions.
Gubler said the city has received a response from NDOT about Caliente’s request to address the flooding situation in Caliente. Fontaine said he would work with Gubler and the city to follow up. He then noted that he had a phone meeting with Ashley Korenblat with Public Land Solutions, and they are interested in working with the Regional Development Authority on opportunities to capitalize on outdoor recreation. While they are not necessarily opposed to oil and gas developments, they want to make sure they are done in a way that doesn’t impact mountain biking trails.
Hurd asked Fontaine to reach out to the Atlanta Gold Mine for an update.
The next LCRDA meeting will be Nov. 4 at the Caliente City Hall.