With sometimes back-to-back or simultaneous ambulance calls and only one “really good” ambulance, a new ambulance is “critical” for the Lovelock community according to fire and EMS officials. But, county leaders again requested ambulance billing and collection reports first.
Last week, EMS Director Marti Nolan of the Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department said there were 13 ambulance calls so far this month but four calls came in at about the same time. Fire Chief Rodney Wilcox said two of the LVFD’s three ambulances are older and will need replacement.
Options are tax funds and other revenues may be available for a new ambulance but “we need to see the numbers for ambulance billings and collections,” Commissioner Carol Shank said.
As for fires, volunteers responded to both a house fire and a brush fire on the same day according to Wilcox. The LVFD roster will be down to 22 volunteers after two resignations, he told the board. A full roster would be 30 volunteers as allowed by state fire officials.
Meanwhile, four bids were opened for a new brush truck for the Grass Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The bids will be reviewed with one bid to be approved at the next board meeting. GVVFD Chief Sean Burke said 12 of his volunteers have successfully completed FireFighter One certification training as required for safety grants and brush fire training will be up next.
As the Director of Emergency Management, Burke said hazardous materials training exercises are on track for county fire departments as required to qualify for emergency services grants.
Sheriff Jerry Allen said a Sheriff’s Office substation equipped with communications and other infrastructure could be useful near the Black Rock Playa as an increased number of organized and informal events are permitted, or not, by the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM’s mission is to protect public land while the Sheriff’s Office is obligated to protect public safety at all events within the county, Sheriff Allen told the board. Attendance may increase at informal events, such as 4th of Juplaya, as less costly alternatives to Burning Man.
“BLM is starting to permit more festivals, more gatherings out there,” Sheriff Allen said. “Just want to let the board know that there will be more activity out there other than just the Burning Man festival. We’ve known about the 4th of Juplaya for quite a while but there are at least two entities that want to make that an organized event of several thousand people…As that becomes a more popular area, we will be getting more and more requests for service.”
Sheriff Allen said the BLM may offer contracts for county law enforcement during future events on the playa and a new substation on possible county property near the playa would be helpful.
“In the past, we have been able to contract with BLM to get some of those costs reimbursed.”
The board completed the first reading of an ordinance that will increase monthly landfill rates from $12 to $13 per month for Lovelock residents and from $13 to $14 “in areas of the county serviced by transfer sites”. The rate increases could take effect on July 1, 2022.
Landfill rate “multipliers” that apply to businesses will remain unchanged at the 1993 levels according to District Attorney Bryce Shields. The monthly rate increases are needed to help the county landfill operate in the black instead of in the red. Customers can appeal landfill rates.
Ralph Runge of West Coast Salmon provided an update on the project to be located near Cosgrave in north Pershing County. Project financing is still in the works but groundbreaking and construction of the land-based fish farm could happen later this year, he said.
“The senior management team is out in the financial markets talking to prospective investors,” Runge told the board. “We hope to close the first financing rounds sometime in the March/April time frame. We’ve begun design with the existing funds we have. The schedule is generally the same with excavation probably in the August time frame.”
Salmon eggs could start growing in early 2023 with the first salmon harvest in early 2025.
Staffing will be considered “late in the second quarter or early third quarter,” Runge said.
“Once again, we’ll continue to try and source as locally as we can in the region for contractors and employees, wherever we can find the skill sets,” he said. “Heidi and Jan are meeting with Great Basin College about building programs to help kids prepare for aquaculture careers.”
The board approved a letter to Wells Fargo protesting the Lovelock branch closure. In 2021, Wells Fargo closed 267 branches, the most among banks, “as customers increasingly turn to digital banking and the industry consolidates” according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.