Humboldt County Commission in brief—

The Humboldt County Board of Commissioners held their regular meeting on July 5th and with all members present (Commissioner Hill present via web-call):

• The Board voted unanimously to approve expenditures from June 20th through July 5th.

• The Board received an update regarding the current fire season from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Interagency Fire Management Officer Donovan Walker. According to Walker, BLM firefighters are responding to about two to three fires per week, the majority of which have been human-caused. The largest of the fires burned about 1,000 acres by Emigrant Pass, approximately 90 miles east of Winnemucca, was human caused, and was successfully put out. The current response time to fires is about 20 minutes for the BLM firefighters, according to Walker, and the unusual weather patterns, in regards to moisture, have caused grass and other fire-fueling foliage to thrive, which could mean trouble when fires start. Walker explained that the fire season predictions are not necessarily reliable because the weather is always changing and fires are typically unpredictable, but explained that “you never know, you just have to adapt”. The board did not have to take action on the update. 

• Consideration of a proposal from Farr West Engineering to conduct a survey of the Sage Heights parcel (owned jointly by the City of Winnemucca and Humboldt County) as a suitable site for a new Building and Grounds Facility—to move it from the basement of the Court House— was discussed and unanimously approved by the Board.

• A request by the Treasurer’s Office to proceed with title searches for a 2023 delinquent tax auction for the properties within the county which owe taxes was approved, with Humboldt County Treasurer Rhona Lucumberry reporting that there are 40 parcels to be sold, three of which have rolled over from the previous auction, and one redeemed and owed taxes paid.

•  The District Attorney’s Office requested the approval of the Board to waive the attrition period or the recently vacated position of Deputy District Attorney on July 22, which the Board approved. 

• The Board also authorized the District Attorney’s (DA) Office and the IT Department to enter into an agreement with Lenslock—a police technology company already utilized by the Winnemucca Police Department— for cloud storage to manage the tremendous amount of data evidence that is currently processed in the DA’s Office. Humboldt County District Attorney Mike MacDonald explained the burden that this process places on the DA’s Office and the sheer amount of data that must be stored and processed. Humboldt County Communications/TV Director Ric Grantham explained that the data from just one cell phone overloads the systems, with many cases requiring the collection of data from 20 plus cell phones. Grantham also clarified that Lenslock provides legal tracking of the data for the security of the information and assures that an unlimited amount of evidence can be stored. 

• The District Attorney’s Office also provided an update about the status of their attempts to identify those that own the fees and restitution paid over the past several years for an account that holds approximately $27,000, which must be allocated to the appropriate parties. According to County Manager Dave Mendiola’s staff report, there have been previous delays in designating restitution received from court ordered individual’s to victims because of misplaced information. DA MacDonald explained that the error in appropriation of the money stems back about 17 years and the severity of the situation had not been realized, even by his predecessors. According to the DA, the office has been working diligently to respond to the audit on the account, and have made recent progress in settling the account, with the help of Comptroller Gina Rackley, although it has been tedious and they find that many clients can’t or don’t pay their restitution. According to Comptroller Rackley, the funds that remain unclaimed will be turned over to the State. 

“We are committed to resolving this,” said MacDonald. 

• Comptroller Rackley updated the Board regarding an overview of the current financial conditions with expenditures and revenues from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. 

• Humboldt County Assessor, Andy Heiser, presented an update regarding the 2023 State Legislative Session and informed the Board that he will be the new president of the Assessor’s Association next year. Heiser formalized the expectations of the Board in regards to updates about the legislative sessions. 

• The Board voted in approval of a request by the Building and Grounds Department of a proposal from Cushing and Terrell Architecture to provide design concepts for a new ADA—Americans with Disabilities Act— approved shower facility for the booking area at the Humboldt County Detention Center. 

• A request by the Planning Department to divide a section of land into large parcels was approved by the Board. 

• The Public Works Department requested to purchase and seek a motor grader and a used semi-tractor truck was approved by the Commissioners. Public Works Director Don Kalkoske also updated the Board on current road projects, which did not require action by the Board. 

• The Board approved the request by Technology Services to sign an on site license agreement for Winnemucca Mountain with KWNA Radio. 

• A Recreation and Public Purpose Lease with the BLM for the Pueblo Fire Station in Denio, NV on Big Creek Road was approved by the Commissioners to build a new fire house for the Pueblo Fire District. The area will also accommodate parking and storage for the Humboldt County Road Department also. 

• The Board approved a request by the Humboldt Museum to write a letter of support in their efforts to expand. 

• The Board unanimously approved Commissioner Ken Tipton’s motion to approve a merit and annual cost of living increase for County Manager Mendiola, which Nevada Revised Statute requires be done in public forum. An update of  Mendiola’s quarterly priorities, goals and expectations were presented and the Board collectively agreed that he had met and exceeded many of them, thus spurring approval.