Winnemucca City Council approves 30-year contract with BLM

Sixty-three percent of Nevada land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which the BLM works daily to maintain and preserve, especially during wildfire season. After initial debate, the City Council recently approved a 30 year contract with the BLM to allow a BLM aerial firefighting Single Engine AirTanker (SEAT) base operations lease to combine two current leases and for the City to manage an expansion project of the Winnemucca Municipal Airport. All members of the Council were present, with Councilman Michael Owens present via web-call. The expansion will accommodate planes used to provide aircraft support for wildfires, the storage of fire retardant, and various other firefighting operations. 

Airport Board Chairman Wayne Smith conveyed the Board’s full support of the agreement with the BLM.

According to the Lease Agreement between the City and the BLM, the BLM will be investing $2.3 million into the design and construction processes and the City will receive annual rent from the BLM. The annual rent will also increase by two percent every year beginning the second year of the agreement, bringing the City a steady revenue for 30 years. In previous meetings and discussions, the City had asked for a shorter lease period with the BLM, but representatives from the BLM explained that the amount of the investment required the BLM to pursue a length of time that would allow the full utilization of the investment, which was estimated to be 30 years. The revenue and BLM presence at the airport is also likely to increase the longevity of the Municipal Airport, according to Airport Board Member and Humboldt County Commissioner Tom Hoss. 

Mayor Rich Stone stated that he believes “this will be a real asset to the airport.”

In other City Council news:

• The long awaited approval for a city-owned property transfer request—the 5.74 acre parcel on Museum Lane — was granted. The parcel was transferred to the North Central Nevada Historical Society (NCHS) to be used for museum purposes, or expansion, at no cost to the NCHS. Director of Humboldt Museum Dana Toth explained that the next step towards construction of an expansion for the museum include preliminary designs that the museum can now attain from consultants, as the land has been secured. 

• The Council heard public comment by a concerned citizen, who expressed concerns about the Fourth of July parade, stating that it was “the worst experience they had ever had”, and as a result of being hit with water balloons, the citizen and their family had bruises and their glasses had been broken.

• Lyndsee Jimenez was re-appointed to a four-year term to the Regional Planning Commission. 

• Joe Brooks was appointed to a four-year term for a vacant position on the Regional Planning Commission.

• A request by Century 21 Realty for the closure of Packsaddle Road on July 23rd for a street fair showcasing new homes being built on the street was approved.

• A request by the Historical Resources Commission for approval of the subgrant agreement for $9,622 to send members to the National Alliance of Reservation Commissioners Forum Event was granted. 

• The request to approve the submission of the City debt management policy, five-year capital improvement plan, current and contemplated general obligation debt, special elective tax report and chief financial officer information to the Department of Taxation, County Debt Management Commission and the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau was granted by the Council. City Manager Alicia Heiser explained that the City of Winnemucca has very little debt and the report is to specify how the City plans to pay back the debt. 

• A request was withdrawn by a prospective city council candidate for payment of $1,000 for the supposed rejection by city personnel to accept filing papers. The motion to deny the request passed unanimously. 

• The Council received an update regarding American Rescue Plan Act Funds from County Manager Heiser, who confirmed that the second half of the funds have been received—totalling $10.4 million  — and is in consideration to be used in coincidence with the first half, for water and sewer projects.