Archive | February, 2016

Geri Wopschall Around The County

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

G-Wop

Philosopher Camus wrote “Always go too far, because that’s where you will find the truth.”

Restructuring and

Expenditure Reduction

(Ways to cut)

1. Hire a County Manager. This is to provide follow-through on Commission initiatives and actions and provide leadership in the day-to-day operations of the county.

(I agree the commission needs follow through on their actions, I do not think a new employee is needed. Any interested commissioner can follow through. Way too many items are tabled and never brought up again. Any item put on the agenda is worthy of a decision.)

2. Work on consolidating services with the City of Ely. Suggestions are Fire/EMS/Office of Emergency Management, Justice Court and Municipal Court, Financial Services, Road Departments and Attorney Services.

  (Some of these are feasible, but there is some doubt as to how and if there is any will by the City of Ely.)

3. Eliminate the EDC department and reassign primary duties to other offices.

  (Some of the duties have been reassigned others offices. The EDC office remains open and time cards are being turned in. There is no department head, but some commissioners intend to hire one and keep the department open. This department is not needed on the county payroll, private groups can provide everything needed at little or no cost to the county.)

4. Concurrent with elimination of the EDC department, add a half time grant writing position to the Treasurer’s Office and reassign duties for economic development to the Treasurer.

(This does make sense.)

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5. Assign duties for business license to the Recorder’s Office increasing duties as opposed to decreasing staff.

(Yes this is part of the way to handle the planed revenue enhancements. This may be a done deal. With one commissioner against a new business license.)

6. Assign all administrative duties of the County Commission to the Clerk’s Office.

(This is where it belongs and the duties have been reassigned.)

7. During negotiations with the general employees union, work to add three new steps below the lowest steps to start new employees at a lower rate.

(Good move, now what do we do about department heads?)

8. Impose a hiring delay that recoups all costs of termination prior to allowing a new hire to occur with a minimum of ninety day delay.

  (Termination could be someone leaving or someone being let go. The ninety days should be used to see if the potion is needed and if it can be handled by another employee.)

9. Reduce the BCT contract and hire a full-time Technology Department engineer. Eliminate the stipend to the IT supervisor. Place the department under County Manager.

  (BCT contract is $110,000. Cost for a full time engineer – Unknown.

County Manger may cost $130,000. Your call!)

10. Hire a County Manager who will be responsible for County oversight, supervision of appointed department heads, natural resources, human resources and information technology .

  (Only if appointed department heads salary is cut to pay for a County Manger.)

11. Reduce the human resources director position to a department manager position.

(This requires the hiring of a County Manager. We need to cut payroll not hire more people to oversee the people already being paid. For some reason I do not think anyone’s wages will be cut to cause any savings.)

12. District Attorney’s Office, consider – 1. Outsourcing the public guardian position and the eliminating one administrator duties, 2. Eliminate one administrative assistant and one legal executive assistant and hire a new deputy district attorney.

(The hiring of a new deputy attorney has been approved. All other suggestions have not been addressed.)

13. Reduce ten hours per week of staff time from the library. The library is not a mandated or essential service of the County.

(This will save very little, and cost in services to the community .)

14. Eliminate the airport manager and reassign duties to various departments.

(The airport manager makes about $35,000. a year. If we ever want to have the airport in good shape again, there needs to be someone who’s only object is the airport.)

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15. Combine the department head for the senior center and social services.

(Combining departments is a necessity, I am not sure this one saves any money.)

16. Reduce hours for support staff in the agricultural extension office.

(Don’t know the savings.)

17. Change the golf course and building and planing enterprise funds to special funds.

(Why? Does this put more money in the hands of the commission? If memory serves, the state set up the enterprise fund with money from the golf course, in the amount of $300,000. Please correct me if I am wrong.)

This goes on for 33 items. Included is reducing the commissioners to 3 (bad idea). Make it mandatory all new employees be hired at entry level pay (this should have been in practice). I have had discussions with some commissioners on the salary of department heads. I feel they are to high. A commissioner compared them with what the US Government pays for the same job. I do not like the comparison.

  The repeated message is hire a county manager.

  One of the largest expenses the county has is payroll and this is were the cuts need to start. The commissioners know the employees better than they know the citizens of the county, so this will be very hard for them to do.

The citizens of White Pine County can not afford more taxes or fees. The only thing that will save us is cuts, very serious cuts.

  “Situational ethics” what does this mean to you?

Geri Wop

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West Wendover Honor Roll Assembly Of February

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

All Photos credit Mrs Kim Reamer

West Wendover Gold & Silver Honor Roll Feb.2016

All Photos credit Mrs Kim ReamerWest Wendover Bronze Honor Roll Feb.2016

Café Copper Kettle 2

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Wendover Library Events

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

Many events happening everyday at the local Branch Library, involve both parents and children. Besides reading, many crafts engaging all, take place there too.

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Reading Program at the local Wendover Library with parents and children. (photo Kelly Eveleth)

Reading Program at the local Wendover Library with parents, grandparents, and children (photo Kelly Eveleth)

Crafts at the local Wendover Library with parents, grandparents, and children. (photo Kelly Eveleth)

 

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Here little kids are enjoying other crafts, related to an earlier reading, also at the local Wendover Library. (photo Kelly Eveleth)

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More reading activities and socializing at the local library. (photo Kelly Eveleth)

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Opinion

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

Apple:FBI

If You No Longer Trust The Federal Government To Do The Right Thing, You Should Thank Apple For Telling The FBI To Take A Hike

When I was growing up, the FBI was personified by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and the Highway Patrol by Broderick Crawford.

  The G Men and the State Troopers were there to keep us safe from bank robbers and people who would commit carnage on our nation’s highways.

  And no little boy in the 50s and 60s would ever think anything different.

  We trusted them and we believed they were the good guys because, for the most part, they were.

  They have lost that luster in many cases and much of what has happened is reflected in the FBI’s ongoing attempt to force Apple to write an entirely new piece of software to hack one of its iPhones, ostensibly to “help” them in the investigation of a now dead terrorist.

  It all gets down to who you trust and, frankly, it is an interesting juxtaposition to see Donald Trump complaining about Apple’s actions in this case when his candidacy has been boosted and supported by many of the people who no longer trust the Federal Government to do the right thing.  And, as smart as I believe Trump is, he’s being badly misinformed in this case.

  Back when I was growing up, it took some research if you wanted to commit a federal crime.  There were maybe a few thousand violations of the law which would possibly qualify for the FBI’s attention. Robbing a federally insured bank was a mainstay. So was kidnapping across state lines.

  Today, because some clown in Congress is always crying, “There ought to be a law!” there are nearly 5,000 acts for which the FBI can investigate and arrest you. If you mistakenly import wood from a country on Barack Obama’s list, as did the Gibson Guitar Company, you can be a target as they were.

  So, before we get all high and mighty about Apple’s “duty” to assist the FBI, let’s put this question in a different form.

  Sure, we want to make the world safe from terrorism.

  But what if the FBI was—two years after the fact—investigating Cliven Bundy and his guests who made the Bureau of Land Management stand down in 2014?  And what if they wanted to hack THEIR iPhones to get evidence against them. (Was the FBI carrying Harry Reid’s water there?)

  Or…what if you told your bank a fib on your last Mastercard application and that application only existed and was encrypted in YOUR iPhone? (Yes, you can go to prison for that.)

  In point of fact, the FBI can lie to you all day long with no legal consequence but if you lie to them, you can go to prison. That’s the law. Ask Scooter Libby.

  Now do you see the problem?

  And that’s only one of a number of problems.

  The second problem here is that what this little Federal Magistrate in California has ordered Apple to do is to write a piece of software which doesn’t exist.

  Writing software is like writing this column.  Could that Magistrate order me to write a column?  I think not.

  The third problem is that once that software is written, the genie is out of the bottle.

  Which returns us to the issue of who do you trust.

  This is, after all, the same FBI which orchestrated the killing of one Lavoy Finicum recently in Oregon by the Oregon Highway Patrol.  He was killed because he did not comply with the “commands” of law enforcement.

  These folks are not Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Broderick Crawford. Do you really want to give them the right to shoot you dead for not obeying their “commands” AND the right to peer into your most private information which you carry with you every day?

  Truth be told, I carry an aging iPhone 5 and I had not password protected it.

  Until I discovered that the FBI couldn’t crack Apple’s encryption software.

  Now, I’m much more impressed with my iPhone than I used to be..

  But, if Apple caves, I’ll find a new phone which is manufactured by a company which won’t.

By Fred Weinberg

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BLM Extends Public Input For Proposed Ash Springs Management Plan

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

imgresELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District, Caliente Field Office has extended until Monday, March 21, 2016, the public input period for the development of a management plan for the Ash Springs Recreation Site, located alongside U.S. Highway 93 about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.  The BLM extended the 30-day public input period an additional 21 days to provide the public the opportunity to attend a public meeting in Las Vegas and provide input.

The BLM is scheduled to meet with the public from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 10, at Shadow Ridge High School, 5050 Brent Lane, in Las Vegas.

The plan would provide the Ely District management direction for the BLM-administered portion of Ash Springs and address visitor usage and public safety, endangered and sensitive species habitat, water quality, and compliance with existing local, state and federal laws.

Interested individuals should address all written comments to the BLM Caliente Field Office, P.O. Box 237, Caliente, NV 89008-0237 Attn: Ash Springs.  Comments may also be submitted electronically with the subject, “ATTN: Ash Springs” to blm_nv_ash_springs@blm.gov.  Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

For more information or to be placed on the mailing list, contact the BLM Caliente Field Office at (775) 726-8100 or blm_nv_ash_springs@blm.gov.

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Letters To The Editor About The Elections Via Website or Via E-mail

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

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Letter To The Editor, via website, February 21st, 2016

Make No Mistake Donald Trump Is On His Way To The White House

The popular vote is growing tremendously for a President Trump, showing that every class of American is looking upon this solid businessman as a savior for our economic downturn under this present administration. With the American people having no redress, we are unnoticed, we are being told by the GOP Syndicate and the Democratic, Socialist political Parties that the country is doing well? Yes! The profiteers, the wealthy conglomerates are doing well, but that is expected when they are bring there products into America without any resistance. But Trump has other ideas, that unless they play by the rules, they will pay a tariff of 57 percent.
I’m inclined to think that the profession, well situated class at the top think the American People are fools, but this far from the case. A majority people of this great land don’t trust anybody in government or the mainstream press, as they remain isolated from the impoverished families who try to put a plateful of healthy food on the table. A dark cloud of frustration and anger has flooded across the land, with jobs vanishing overseas and to Mexico; Trump has inspired a huge part of the population pledging a better day to come, knowing that he honors his promises.
More people are elated that Trump intends to the erect a 1000 mile wall, severing us from the criminal drug cartels, killing our children and restraining the illegal alien invasion. Trump proposes in building an army along with the giant wall of US Border Agents to enforce from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. He intends to send in the National Guard to clear out the whole areas, where just one or two sheriffs try to safeguard huge sectors of open desert and farmland that narcotics are daily sent with armed individuals, groups of illegal aliens tearing up fencing, breaking into homes and threatening landowners. Trumps new law will provide a tougher enforcement tools that will be Mandatory E-Verify and a system to track ‘Overstays’ who ignore an expired visa. These duties will be employed of a far larger force of USICE officers who will raid businesses using foreign nationals stealing jobs from American and permanent residents.
This February has been one of the bad, months for American workers. First we saw the wholly gloomy Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which found that in January the long-struggling U.S. economy created only 155,000 jobs (That’s if you are willing to believe that number, when over 93 million citizens and lawful residents are in either poorly paid jobs, underemployed, in part time work or dropped looking for something altogether?

Then, the Indianapolis Business Journal has reported that the manufacturing huge company ‘Carrier’ is motivated, over the next three years in relocating 1,400 jobs to Mexico. Carrier is the foremost air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems producer. In another correlated statement, northeast Indiana-based United Technologies Electronic Controls is also to remove move jobs to Mexico. By 2018, 700 jobs will materialize in Mexico. No need to speculate that net employment gains is dreary when U.S. manufacturing segment are moving overseas and has been stagnating for months and even years, finding a better opportunity in foreign countries with fewer regulations and cheap labor. Carrier and UTEC are units of the Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp., a Fortune 500 company with $65 billion in annual revenue. Watch the heated feedback from stunned Carrier employees at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3ttxGMQOrY
There is an accumulation of appalling news coming from the depressed IT section of industry. Hertz announced that it would soon lay off 230 workers at its Oklahoma City technology center. A Hertz representative said that nationwide the total lost IT jobs will “…be larger than 230….” Labor Condition Applications for prospective H-1B visa holders have been traced back to the Hertz Oklahoma City address, a strong signal that more foreign workers whisked through suspicious Visa processing will take American jobs.
All these situations is serious news for the job market, grave news with Ford manufacturing moving a large part of it manufacturing to Mexico, Ford said on last April it will spend $2.5 billion to build a new generation of fuel-efficient engines and transmissions in Chihuahua, Mexico, creating 3,800 jobs. The United Auto Workers union, in response, said putting jobs in Mexico rather than the United States will be a major issue at its upcoming U.S. labor talks with Ford, General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Then Nabisco also having no sense of loyalty to the US people, when Irene Rosenfeld, the head of Mondolez announced that instead of invest $130 million in refurbishing the plant in Chicago, where Oreos have been fondly produced for the past 100 years, she will instead move the jobs to a new factory in Salinas, Mexico. The result: a loss of 600 well-paying and community-sustaining jobs on the Southwest Side.
Many American companies have quietly expanded over to Mexico — including well-known brands like Caterpillar, Chrysler, and Stanley-Black & Decker adding billions of dollars in investment and insisting to drive the economic integration that President Obama has allowed and not placing obstacles to stop this loss of US good paying jobs. Currently the United States has a deficit with our not so friendly neighbor of 500 billion dollars.
Notwithstanding the mounting data that citizens/legal residents in blue collar and high-skilled jobs are persistently at risk of overseas outsourcing or foreign-born in-sourcing, many on the Capitol beltway continue to press for more workers, mostly through greatly higher H-1B visa caps.
The entertainment industry, Nevada Hotels and Casino’s that once sported opportunities for minorities, college students and part-time Americans, is now populated with cheap labor from Mexico, South and Central America and until we have a President who works for the People and not for Special Interests.

Letter To The Editor, via e-mail, February 19th, 2016

Dear Editor

My name is Catana L Barnes. I am an independent voter and the president of Independent Voters of Nevada, I would like to caucus for Bernie Sanders but the state of Nevada and the Democratic Party of Nevada require that I give up my independence to do so.

Call me an electoral conscientious objector.  I believe partisan warfare is wrong.  Forcing unaffiliated voters to join a political organization in order to be able to vote is wrong.  As much as I would like to caucus for Bernie, I can’t do what I am required to do.

Mr. Sanders, an independent himself, needs the support of the independent voters here in Nevada (just as he did in NH and in Iowa.) Polls currently show that he is neck and neck with Hillary Clinton.

Because independent voters are seeking a “political revolution,” many will switch their party affiliation in order to caucus for Mr. Sanders.  I support their action.  I understand it, and I hope that following the caucuses, they will re-register as independents.  I also urge them to take one more step — contact me and join the movement to change the partisan election system which treats independents like second class citizens, even though we are 43% of the country!

Bernie Sanders had the guts to take on the most powerful political machine in America, the Clinton machine, when no one else would.  He had the guts to say that the American people bailed out Wall Street and now it’s time for Wall Street to return the favor.

But it is we, the independents, who have to lead the way to the systemic political change that will make it possible to achieve humane solutions to the social and economic crisis.  We must put the people first, not the parties.

I personally invite every independent voter who supports a “political revolution” to join the independent voter movement by contacting me at ivonorg@gmail.com. We can, we have and we will succeed at bringing about changes that empower all voters.  Catana Barnes

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Newmont Notes

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

February Newmont Notes 2016

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Robotics Come To Emergency Responders

Posted on 28 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

UAS SAR drone america

The first ever symposium on use of unmanned autonomous robotics systems in search and rescue is being hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center April 6-8. (Photo courtesy of Drone America)

The first-ever symposium on the uses of autonomous robotics systems and vehicles for emergency first responders is being hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno. “The potential for uses of unmanned autonomous systems in emergency situations is enormous,” Warren Rapp, business director of the University’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center, said. “This symposium will explore opportunities, present case studies and include panel discussions to foster dialogue on how first responders use, or would like to use, autonomous systems.”

The conference will feature leaders in the fields of search and rescue, emergency management, robotics and autonomous vehicles as well as from government and non-profit institutions.

Featuring two days of seminars, the symposium also includes a social event where participants will be treated to the Aces AAA baseball team’s season opener on Thursday, April 7.

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Law enforcement agencies, search and rescue professionals, emergency management personnel, UAS manufacturers and researchers are all invited to attend to the event, which includes a small trade exhibit, presentations of academic research, real-world case studies and vendor talks – all designed to inform current and potential users about the latest state-of-the-art in UAS technologies and to streamline adoption of UAVs into search and rescue and emergency management.

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“Because we are one of the few Universities in the country that is heavily involved in researching the benefits and capabilities of UAVs being integrated into search and rescue operations we decided it was a natural fit to host this UAV SAR Symposium,” Rapp said.

Adapting existing UAS technologies to work in public safety offices requires understanding the specific needs and constraints of how drones and other autonomous systems could be used in emergency or public safety scenarios. Bringing together first responders, vendors and industry leaders, the symposium will foster dialogue on how first responders use or would like to use autonomous systems.

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“We have a great relationship with sheriff’s organizations and first responders, and they are excited for this event to take place,” Rapp said. “We have a National Science Foundation grant to develop and integrate UAS platforms and systems into disaster scenarios that includes several University faculty, the Washoe County Emergency Management Office and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.”

Rapp said NAASIC, which supports advanced autonomous robotic systems and advanced manufacturing industries, is proud to partner with area businesses and organizations, such as the El Dorado and Silver Legacy resort casinos, Drone America and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, for the symposium. For more information visit the conference webpage at http://www.unrsar.com.

February Newmont Notes 2016

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Nevada Results of Republicans Precincts Votes

Posted on 25 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

Steve Dennin and Mike Katsonis, penning in people as they arrive, before the start of the meeting.

Steve Dennin and Mike Katsonis, penning in people as they arrive, before the start of the meeting.

Precincts NV Votes

Last Tuesday, on February 23rd, all Republican precincts throughout Nevada had their voters choose their favorite candidate. While Cruz was ahead by a big margin, 439 more votes than Trump, and twice as much as Rubio, it was still a good photo finish for those three men in a race to nomination, who left in the dust everybody else.

Locals Republicans gathered at their Precinct last Tuesday

Locals Republicans gathered at their Precinct last Tuesday

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One of the few people taking the stand to explain his favorite with Steve Dennin in the background.

The three of them gathered 2,142 votes leaving the others with only 231 votes to share between themselves. Even Carson was at a low 172 votes. Locally, the voters were passionate about their favorite. They were compelled to try to convince the others about the strong values of their candidates, and made very good point in each case. In Wendover, only a handful were favorable to Trump(4), or to Carson(4), while  Cruz(6+3) and Rubio(7+1) garnered twice as much.

In West Wendover, for Precinct 20, Steve Dennin, a Wendover resident since 2001, was re-elected as the precinct Chairman, Donna Durham was also re-elected to Secretary. Mike Katsonis, was the site coordinator and organizer, he also was helping local voters to get registered the right way, before November Presidential election day.

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Geri Wopschall Around the County

Posted on 21 February 2016 by Howard Copelan

G-Wop

Philosopher Camus wrote “Always go too far, because that’s where you will find the truth.”

(A license is what you get when the government steals your rights away from you and then sells them back.)

County Commission Meeting

February 10, 2016

A. 1. On closure of County Offices for hazardous weather conditions on February 1, protocol and procedures, Gary Perea, Chairman and Kathy Ricci, Human Resources.

Policy is that each employee determines their ability to get to work.

Gary Perea, after conferring with Ricci, road department and the Sheriff, decided to close all non essential offices. This has caused a problem with payment to the county employees. They do not get paid for the day and must take the day as annual leave or comp day.

Richard Howe “It was the right to decision. The complaints by the employees, personally , I think this was whining. You have a good job and this decision was made for your safety.”

Perea “We need to make an adjustment to the policy.”

Mike Wheable “Let’s put in on the next agenda. “

Perea “Can we make this retro active?”

Suggestion was made that the county should have an information officer.

( I don’t like retroactive. Doing anything retroactive is not right. The closure was the right thing for the safety of everyone. Policy makers need to have some foresight.)

C. 1. Broker of record for county health coverage will be the Leavitt Group.

3. Elizabeth Frances, Finance Director

a. FY 2016 estimated ending General Fund Balance. The county would use $673,035 of ending fund balance. Commission wants to bring this down to $400,000.

  Taxation Estimate (Budget) – $7,793,545.00

  Taxation – $7,691,399.03

   Short – $102,145,97

  Analysis based on – assessed taxes by the state, Proceeds of Minerals revenues (money may have to be returned to the mines due to overestimates and overpayments).

There is an appeal by one of the mines in the county which could result in the County refunding property tax. This will be known in late March.

Interest income may be $50,000 short.

Francis  “The mines are just getting their information in to the Department of taxation . It will be May before we know what that will be. We may have to send money back if they over estimated.”

The mines have been paying taxes on by estimating income, with the price of minerals dropping, the tax paid could be over paid and the county will have to return some tax money. In 2018 taxes will no longer be estimated, but until then taxes from the mines could be returned.

  (With the prices of minerals dropping the commission must add taxes or cut. Cutting is best for all of us. The people can not afford more taxes and if the county can cut they will be on a better basis to control the money they do get. Hopefully they put in a plan to save for hard times and save on the hard decisions.)

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d. Dedicate  3 cents of the Valorem tax from the Indigent Fund. In to the General fund.

  1. Additional $86,740 of revenue in the General.

  2. Increase flexibility on how funds are spent.

  3. Allow the Indigent Fund to spend down its fund of $1,532,552.

How’re, if this action is taken the following must be understood.

  1. NRS requires budget for the Indigent Fund must be 104.5% of the prior year budget.

  2. If there are large medical claims for indigent persons, the County must pay them.

  3. The proposal change may not be permanent.

   The Indigent Fund balance of $500,000 should be established.

e. Start allocating General Funds expenditures to other special revenue funds.

(The county has to juggle money from one place to another to maintain their spending. Every year this get worse. I hope someone can follow the money trail. What would you like to tell the County Commissioners?)

City of Ely

February 11 2016

Public Comment

Tammy Catgren  spoke about the cost to the city for the light at 5th and Aultman. The total cost from 2013 to 2016 is $4,515.00. $2,085.14 was paid by insurance. A new signal has been paid for and has been delivered. I don’t see any need to change to a new system.

Fire Chief – We definitely need a new ambulance, we have raised the money for it. Also a snow plow is needed.

City Attorney – there is a attorney fee of $46,000 the city must pay, this is due from the law suit brought by the Rail Road.

Cars parked on the roads may get red tagged and towed. There is a 48 hour limit.

City Engineer – Ely needs 300 more people to get highway grants. If all people receiving services (water, sewer) are counted we maybe able to get these funds.

City Building Official – A motel was closed due to safety hazards. State Health and Safety Inspectors will be here to inspect other establishments.

There are many more interesting items in both the County and City meetings. I would like to see you attend. If you have any comments, I encourage you to send a letter to the editor. Your voice is needed!

Geri Wop

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