A commercial solar energy farm approved by Pershing County leaders two years ago remains on hold due to a delay in the Power Purchase Agreement with NV Energy. The PPA is needed before the utility will purchase electricity produced by the proposed Pershing Solar project.
As a result, sPower officials were granted a two-year extension in the Special Use Permit granted in March, 2020. If NV Energy approves the PPA, construction of the 2,154 acre solar farm could start in July, 2023 about four miles north of Lovelock, sPower officials said.
If it is built, the solar farm could produce up to 240 megawatts of power for the NV Energy grid with up to 180 megawatts of power stored in batteries for the utility to use as needed. sPower officials said “significant” investments have been made in the project including on-site road improvements, power transformer and the first payment on a grid interconnection facility.
County leaders may run out of patience if construction does not start in the next two years.
“Don’t come back again for an extension,” Commissioner Larry Rackley told sPower officials.
County leaders offered the full-time Emergency Medical Services Coordinator job to Marti Nolan who is now part-time EMS Director for the Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department. It was unknown last week if Nolan had accepted the job offer.
After serving for ten years with the LVFD, Nolan said she is an experienced EMT who knows the people and the community. She’s responsible for volunteer ambulance crew schedules, EMT training and for the ambulance service reports required by Sharp, the ambulance billing service.
County leaders have concerns about the reliability of volunteer ambulance services and declining revenues for ambulance services. If she takes the job, Nolan will be expected to increase ambulance revenues with timely and complete ambulance reports, respond as needed to ambulance calls and coordinate volunteer ambulance crew training and certifications.
In addition, Nolan will be expected to deliver monthly in-person reports on ambulance services.
Nolan requested a starting salary of $60,000 but the county commission offered her a starting salary of $40,000 with a performance review and a possible pay increase after six months.
Earlier in the meeting, County Auditor Rene Childs delivered a written report from the ambulance billing company that showed almost $413,000 in “outstanding receivables” for unpaid ambulance bills primarily due to unpaid Medicaid bills and unpaid “patient payment” bills.
“As you can see, there’s a lot of money that is still owed (to the county),” she said. “A lot of that patient stuff could be, like Marti said, the insurance companies are paying the patient but they (the patient) are not forwarding that on to their outstanding amount.”
If the unpaid ambulance bills were collected, the county could afford to replace old ambulances.
“We could buy ambulances if we received this money,” County Commissioner Shayla Hudson told the board. “We need to find a way to get the charges paid.”
After interviewing two applicants, IT Department Director Justin Abbott recommended the county hire Amanda Burrows for the position of IT Technician. Abbott has told the board he needs a technician to assist him with numerous county computer and internet service calls.
Although Burrows has 18 years of IT experience, Abbott recommended a starting salary of $40,000. The county commission agreed but it was unknown if Burrows would accept the job.
Abbott said the average salary in Nevada for an experienced IT Technician is more than $63,000 and the national average salary for an IT Technician is $73,000.
Expansion of the Coeur Rochester Mine continues with zero worker injuries during 500,000 hours of construction so far according to Coeur Mining officials. Hundreds of additional workers will be bussed to the mine from Lovelock and Winnemucca as the project continues this spring.
The expansion could be completed by the end of 2023 with commercial silver and gold production to start in 2024. The expansion includes a new leach pad and processing plant.
Coeur signed the “Lovelock Water Agreement” with the Lovelock Meadows Water District. The mine expansion is located uphill from groundwater wells that provide Lovelock’s drinking water.
“They just signed the agreement that was discussed in the POA 11 permitting process to make sure that we are protective of and will be responsible for the Lovelock water wells that provide water to this town,” the Coeur official said.