The Lander County Commission met in the Battle Mountain Courthouse last Thursday, where they approved a reallocation of funds previously awarded to the Battle Mountain Family Resource Center. The commission also voted to allow Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9165 to hold meetings and training inside a county building.
The Battle Mountain Resource Center, which is no longer in operation, was previously awarded funds from the county. The Frontier Community Action Agency (FCAA) requested $25,000 of those funds to be reallocated to their program.
“We are asking for the reallocation of funds because we have so many clients coming into our building and are not capable of helping them. We help a very minimal amount of people and have to turn away so many others. We are seeing an influx of people this month — we are now seeing 93 people,” stated Brenda Thomas, who represented the FCAA.
Commissioner Patsy Waits asked Ted Herrera, “So, we still have the funds in the budget for this?”
“Yes, we still have the $25,000 in the budget,” he said.
Thomas said the group was fighting the war on poverty and see its effects on a day-to-day basis. All the funds would be used in Lander County to help those in the community who struggle financially. The commission unanimously voted in favor of the fund’s relocation to the FCAA.
Chris Hanks of the Battle Mountain VFW post 9165 asked the board to let the VFW use the county building located at 143 West Third Street, to conduct their monthly meetings and training classes.
The VFW meets the first Thursday of every month, usually at the Owl Club. However, that business will often host other events, which requires the VFW to move their meetings to other venues.
Further, Hanks explained, “I am also a state certified instructor and work a lot with the State of Nevada and offer a lot of free classes, but it is out of my pocket to conduct those classes. If we had a building that I could use for VFW class, it would help out the community.”
Commissioner Doug Mills wanted to make sure the building was empty. It was confirmed to be empty, but Anna Penola with the Lander County Building Department noted that the bathrooms have to be fixed and brought up to code.
“Have you seen the building, Anna?” asked Commissioner Sean Bakker. She had not, but promised to give the board an update on the building’s status.
The board then voted and approved the VFW to use the building for meetings in the future. The VFW will not be able to meet in the building until it gets back up to state code.
Other notable items approved by the commission included the Parade of Lights on Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. and a waiver of fees at the Civic Center for the Newmont Veterans Breakfast, to be held on Saturday, Nov. 11. The board also voted to allow A and M Engineering to advertise for bids for the Battle Mountain Airport septic system project, which is not to exceed $48,925.63.
The commission listened to updates on the progress of both Austin’s and Battle Mountain’s airports on phased development towards the master plan of the properties. The board discussed with the public their opinions of the possibility of adding a marijuana dispensary in Lander County.
The final item the board discussed for possible action regarded the performance evaluations of Lander County Executive Director Keith Westengard. Each commissioner made a few comments on Westengard’s performance.
After the discussion, Bakker suggested the commission offer Westengard a 2 percent raise.
“If you are wanting to give me a raise I am not going to deny it but I am happy with my current salary,” replied Westengard. Westengard will remain in his current position as the Lander County Executive Director but understands the commissioners would like to see him improve every year in his position.