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Agencies fight for survival in funding plea

<p>Selwyn Harris / Pahrump Valley Times - RNDC Small Business Counselor Allan Parker said his agency may have to close their doors in December if they don’t receive much needed funding from town and county entities.</p>

Selwyn Harris / Pahrump Valley Times - RNDC Small Business Counselor Allan Parker said his agency may have to close their doors in December if they don’t receive much needed funding from town and county entities.

A pair of Nevada agencies with strong local ties may be unable to continue providing services due to financial hardships.

The Rural Nevada Development Corporation (RNDC) is a nonprofit formed more than 20 years ago to serve rural counties and the 27 Native American tribes of Nevada.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), another nonprofit agency, is also on the verge of severe cuts and discontinuance of services if its financial needs are not met soon.

Representatives from both agencies appeared before the town board last night to make their respective cases on why they need assistance from the town to continue providing their respective services.

Due to time constraints, results of the board’s vote will appear in Friday’s edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.

RSVP Field Representative Jan Lindsey, who appeared before the board last month, said this week that a crucial element of the many services provided by RSVP may be eliminated without additional assistance.

She cautioned that the agency’s Respite Care Program (RCP) that allows qualified volunteers to give full-time senior caregivers a break to have some time off for themselves may soon come to an end.

At present, the program serves 16 families in the area and approximately 60 families have been provided services since the program’s inception.

“Our respite program has not been funded this year like it has been in past years. It’s only four years old and we are here to support the Pahrump community. If the town board understands that, they will come through with $7,500. We will not be able to keep the program alive unless they help us with support. We have enough funding right now for the transportation program. Right now we are able to take people to Las Vegas and back, which we were not able to do in the past,” she said.

On the issue of respite care, Lindsey said the agency is actually saving lives through the program.

“It’s community driven and the people we are helping all suffer from dementia. This is just the tip of the iceberg because it’s really going to get worse,” she said.

Much the same can be said for the RNDC office in Pahrump.

Allan Parker has been a small business counselor in RNDC’s Pahrump office for more than 11 years.

He said this week that unless the Pahrump Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which is under the RNDC, can fill a $30,000 budget shortage by the end of December, the facility will be closed.

Parker is seeking $10,000 from the town and an additional $10,000 from the county and NCREDA (Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority).

He added that as a result, there will not be a local facility to provide free and confidential business counseling in Pahrump or Nye County.

“The reason I am going before the town is because there’s a possibility my office will close by Dec. 31 of this year. It’s due to a lack of funding from some of our state agencies. It’s also caused by the government sequestration and the inability of Washington to agree on a federal budget. This didn’t occur overnight. It’s been going for about three or four years and our funding has been cut each and every year,” he said.

Parker also said if the agency is not properly funded, an additional office in northern Nevada may also close its doors.

“The RNDC has been able to absorb the cuts until this year but we actually have two offices at the end of December which is my office and the one operated in Ely. My plan is to seek $30,000 to see if we can keep the offices open. NCREDA is a funding partner to us and through a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), they have RNDC $10,000 for the fiscal year beginning July 1st of this through June 30 of next year. Last year, they gave us $20,000 so they actually cut our funding by $10,000. I have asked them for the full $20,000 and they are taking that under consideration depending on what we are able to do between the town and county,” he said.

The main services provided by RNDC are economic development assistance, financing opportunities for small businesses and safe, affordable housing to individuals and families in rural Nevada.

Parker said the funding need not come from property tax revenues but rather from another funding mechanism exclusively devoted to economic development in the town.

“The money doesn’t have to come from the general fund. It could come from room tax money and there is some set aside for economic development and of course RNDC is an economic development organization. Next week, I am going before the county commissioners to ask them for $10,000. I am asking for $10,000 from each of those organizations to make up for the $30,000 shortfall. I’m not asking any one entity to make it all up,” he said.

Board members also considered establishing a policy for major events at public parks as well as entering into an agreement with Roadshows Inc., for a proposed motorcycle rally next summer.

See Friday’s Pahrump Valley Times for results of Tuesday’s town board agenda items.