Pershing County’s low $800,000 debt puts it in a “good position” according to the 2021 audit report presented to county leadership last week. County Auditor Rene Childs was commended for keeping the county in compliance with state codes and constraints on county spending.
Childs’ constant watch over funds available help county leaders keep their expenditures in line with the budget. As a result, there were no “findings” in this year’s audit report by Eide-Bailly.
“This is awesome,” County Commissioner Carol Shank said after the presentation.
LVFD Chief Rod Wilcox said his department has had 28 ambulance calls (including two patient transfers) along with fire and rescue calls from November 26 to December 13. With new members on board, the volunteer roster has increased to 23. The state allows 30 volunteers.
Earlier this month, the county board approved a job description for Emergency Services Coordinator but the new position has not been advertised and no starting salary range was set. Wilcox said he will be sure that item is on the January 5, 2022 agenda for possible approval.
Commissioner Shank said the state required her to re-submit the Medicaid insurance application and she expressed frustration with the “inefficient” state application process.
Chief Wilcox said the state’s EMT certification process is equally inefficient and frustrating. Volunteers must complete online training for their EMT licenses to be renewed by the state.
EMT and firefighter certifications are also required for the county’s four volunteer fire departments to qualify for grants according to Mike Heidemann. Three of the departments have not provided the certification records he needs and could miss out on grant funds as a result.
The information is needed to apply for the Assistance To Firefighters Grant approved last week by the county commission, Heidemann said. The grant could subsidize 50 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) ensembles with accessories for the four fire departments at a total cost of $452,993 with a required county match of 5 percent not to exceed $22,649.
Grass Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sean Burke replied that his department has had “a record number of calls”, training is on track and he will provide the information needed. No representatives from the Rye Patch or Imlay Volunteer Fire Departments attended the meeting.
Heidemann and Wilcox continue to conduct fire inspections of city and county buildings. Fire hazards due to outdated wiring forced the closure of one building until the problems could be fixed by a certified electrician. Heidemann said “there is a lot of old wiring out there” and that some obsolete electrical systems have been dangerously overloaded with space heaters.
Sheriff Jerry Allen said there are more plumbing problems at the county jail where the inmate population was expected to increase. Plans for a new jail have been on hold since the county agreed to lease and possibly sell the Windmill to Seven Troughs Distillery owner Tom Adams.
On Friday, District Attorney Bryce Shields said, due to an accident, Adams had not signed the six month lease agreement that was scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2021.
“Apparently, Tom Adams suffered a car accident and was in the hospital and rehabilitation center for quite some time,” Shields said in an email. “Fortunately, he is well on his way to recovering. I expect to have the lease signed in the next few weeks.”
On Saturday, however, Commissioner Larry Rackley said Adams had signed the lease.
The county board approved a salary increase for new Dispatch Supervisor Tamara Davis. Sheriff Allen said new deputies have been hired and applications are in for other vacancies.
The commission asked Sheriff Allen for input on incentives that could help him reduce vacancies and retain sheriff’s deputies, dispatchers and other staff at the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Allen was also commended for his 20 years of county law enforcement service.
After a short discussion, the board approved a salary increase for Senior Center Director Giselda Canales who has completed state management training and other requirements.
Canales was asked to work with Building & Grounds Supervisor John Handka to resolve dining hall cleaning issues. Volunteers clean tables and chairs but the floor must also be cleaned daily.
Canales said seniors seem to enjoy the food being served. Some have requested more beef and less fish but the state requires that fish be served at least twice a month. Recent senior center meal statistics required by the state indicate 746 people were served at the center or at home including 45 percent males, 55 percent females and 25 percent disabled senior citizens.
On Fridays, when local schools are closed, juvenile offenders are helping out part-time at the senior center in an agreement with the juvenile court, Canales told the board.
The board approved a CDBG application for more than $39,000 to upgrade the senior center heating and air conditioning systems and a $66,450 grant for NV Energy electrical upgrades.
Due to the recent resignation of Planning Commissioner Cynthia Harkreader, the county commission has a vacant seat to fill on the Pershing County Planning Commission.
Rye Patch area resident Chris Porter has submitted a letter of interest. But, Porter is relatively new to the area and unknown to county officials so additional candidates may be considered.
In a letter to county officials, the BLM announced final approval of the Dixie Meadows Geothermal Development Project to be located in both Pershing County and Churchill County.
A geothermal plant exists in Jersey Valley and there’s another under construction north of Lovelock that’s “going full steam ahead,” County Commission Chairman Larry Rackley said.