Highway 50 sewer projects fund reallocated

Lander County Sewer and Water representatives recently came before Lander County Commissioners to request the reallocation of funding from a previous project into the repair of the sewer lines along Highway 50. The project would be a joint operation with the Department of Transportation paving project in the same area.

Lander County Combined Water District No. 2 Board Chairman Kip Helming, and Austin Engineer Dean Day spoke to commissioners Jan. 11 about reallocating the remaining balance up to $60,000 of a $120,000 grant for the sewer preliminary engineering report in Austin.

The Lander County Department of Transportation is planning on repaving Highway 50 through Austin in 2019. Lander County Water and Sewer want to make the paving a joint effort in order to avoid tearing up newly-paved roads at a later date in order to repair pipes. Updating them concurrent to the road project will hopefully save money, officials said.

“Right now, all we are asking at this point is the remaining balance of the $60,000 to pay Dean (Day), who is asking for $75,600 to create an engineering design,” Lander County Combined Water District Secretary Gwen Jones said. “We will figure out the extra $15,000 on our own. The whole project is going to be dealt with separately, and I am 98 percent sure I will get USDA funding. They are willing to provide us a $500,000 grant.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the request, which will roll-over the remaining $60,000 to the water and sewer district to be used for an engineering design plan.

“We don’t want you to worry, and we want you to get that project done,” said commissioner Art Clark, “You know me, I would give you more if I could.”

In other news from the Jan. 11 meeting:

Commissioners filled positions on various advisory boards in the county and selected chair and vice-chair positions on the commission. Doug Mills and Sean Bakker will remain as chair and vice-chair, respectively. Commissioner Patsy Waits filled Bakker’s spot on the Lander County Convention and Tourism Authority board; Judie Allan is now on the Humboldt River Basin Water Authority board along with Mills; Bakker remains on the Lander County Board of Equalization; Mills remains on the Lander County Debt Management Commission; Allan and Waits will remain members of the Lander County Regional Transportation Commission; Waits remains a non-voting member of the Austin Airport Advisory Board; Mills remains a non-voting member of the Battle Mountain Livestock Events Center Advisory Board; Mills and Bakker remain non-voting members of the Lander County Economic Development Authority; Art Clark and Allan remain non-voting members of the Lander County Public Lands use Advisory Planning Commission.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the selections to the advisory boards. They are responsible for attending the meetings and events held by these committees. Commissioners are also expected to provide updates to the county commission during regular meetings where they will discuss reports on meetings, conferences and seminars attended before the commission meetings.

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Commissioners received an update from the executive director of the Western Counties Alliance. Ken Brown spoke to commissioners about public lands, road projects, geothermal energy and national monuments. Brown said recent actions by the presidential administration in regard to national monuments have no direct effect on Nevada or Lander County yet, but could in the future.