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Airport, fireworks contract debated at board meeting

The construction of an airport in Pahrump just took another major step forward after town board members deliberated over the issue on Tuesday.

The board approved two separate agenda items related to the proposed Pahrump Valley General Aviation Airport.

The first item allowed the board to consider awarding a consulting contract on a financial feasibility study for the airport tentatively planned for an area on the south end of town along Gamebird Road.

QED Airport and Aviation Consultants based in Florida was the sole respondent to a town Request for Qualifications (RFQ) proposal, which was approved during a meeting earlier this summer.

The RFQ allows the town to determine if the responding company is qualified and can meet the needs of the town’s request.

Former Town Manager Bill Kohbarger, who is assisting Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck with the project, said town and QED officials initially needed to reach an agreement on fees for the study.

He told the board that a brief phone call was all that was necessary to save the town several thousand dollars after learning of QED’s initial bid for the project.

“Their original price was just a little over $109,000 which we thought was way out of tune. We discussed with them and gave them suggestions on where we thought we should go. He agreed with us and rewrote his proposal and it is now down to $81,640 which roughly $9,000 below what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted us. I also spoke to Doug Pomeroy who is the FAA financial analyst and planner for this area and has been handling the Pahrump Airport for the past six years,” he said.

The second airport agenda item pertained to a grant proposal from the FAA for the completion of phase II of the airport’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The total amount of the grant is $800,000.

According to information contained in the agenda, the town’s contribution will be five percent or about $40,000.

The grant will allow the town to continue to develop the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed facility and complete the associated Financial Feasibility Study (FFS) as requested by the FAA.

Kohbarger advised that both items needed approval by the board.

After viewing budget information on the project, board member Dr. Tom Waters said he had concerns about expenses totaling more than $3,000 outlined in the agenda’s backup material.

Water’s concerns focused on incidentals for the QED representatives who will travel to Pahrump for an upcoming site visit.

“The paperwork shows expenses but it doesn’t state exactly what those expenses are,” he inquired.

Kohbarger told the board that all of the expenses are part of the normal expenses related to business travelers.

“It’s all for travel, lodging and food. They will be making two trips to Pahrump during the time. The $3,100 should cover flights from Florida to Pahrump on those two occasions plus food and lodging,” Kohbarger responded.

QED officials offered a detailed description on the scope of work they are tasked to perform once they arrive in Pahrump.

“QED will conduct a visit to the site combined with a meeting of the key stakeholders as identified by the town at the initiation of the financial feasibility study. This visit also affords opportunity for QED to obtain current unit construction costs from the NDOT office in Las Vegas as input to preparing an updated capital improvement program construction cost estimate,” the company cited.

The notion of constructing an airport in Pahrump has been in the works for more than 20 years.

As such, QED officials said they also need to update all of the information on project costs and additional grant funding potential.

QED anticipates an 11-week schedule for the entire scope of work performed on the initial steps of the project.

The board voted 4-0 to approve both agenda items. Vice Chair Bill Dolan was not present at the meeting.

The company responsible for putting the town’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display was also under scrutiny by the board.

Board members considered seeking a renewal of Pyrotechnic Fireworks’ contract or allow alternate companies to make a bid for next year’s display at Petrack Park.

The company has put on the display for the past three years.

One local resident, Richard Goldstein, urged the board to opt for the latter.

During public comment Goldstein said he and his family got an up-close and personal look at this year’s show.

So close that spent fireworks debris fell literally into his lap.

During a July meeting, Goldstein actually brought in some of the debris for an impromptu “show and tell” for the board.

“Ever since this company has taken over the fireworks show, there has been a problem,” he said.

Waters was first to give his opinion on the item.

“I have no problem with this company or the price. However, I do believe in competition because it does have a way of bringing the price down. I do support this new RFP for the 2014 Fourth of July fireworks event,” he said.

Dolan provided a written state on the item which read aloud on record.

“I feel this should go on to RFP if we can’t get a better deal. Also, what about moving the launch site to field “C”? It is a little further away from the main park, but yet still very visible from Petrack Park,” he stated.

The amount of the previous contract with Pyrotechnic Fireworks was $25,000.

After further discussion the board voted unanimously to issue an RFP to allow for alternate companies to bid for an award.