Board agrees to development funds with strings attached

On Monday, things looked pretty bleak for a longtime local agency in danger of closing its doors.

Today, a glimmer of hope for the Rural Nevada Development Corporation (RNDC) courtesy of the Pahrump town board.

Members on Tuesday voted to grant $10,000 in financial assistance — with a few strings attached.

The agency must also have the same amount of financial assistance from the Board of County Commissioners and another county entity, the Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority (NCREDA).

The vote passed by a slim margin.

RNDC provides various services for individuals looking to start a new business or expand an existing business.

Following the meeting, RNDC representative Allan Parker assessed the board’s decision.

“I guess I was a little bit surprised because of how the conversation went early on during the presentation. I wasn’t particularly comfortable with the outcome, but by the time the final decision came about I was pleasantly surprised,” he said.

The conversation Parker was referring to referenced the town’s budget.

Board member Dr. Tom Waters reminded all that funding a $10,000 request from a local nonprofit agency was not budgeted last year.

He advised the board to proceed with caution on the agenda item.

“That’s exactly what we have to look at because this would be an unfunded budget request. It’s not something that we have, it’s something that we have to find. I know we already have our funds allocated because we already completed our budget process and that’s my big concern.” he said.

Waters furthered his argument by indicating that all staff members in the past few years have made personal sacrifices in terms of salary.

Not one staff member has requested a raise during the economic downturn that began in early 2008.

“The other concern that I have is the fact that we have some people that have been very loyal to us and they are town employees. We have not given them a raise in four years because of a lack of funds,” he reminded the board.

Parker, meanwhile, was prepared to offer a concise rebuttal to Waters’ assertion by suggesting that the monies need not come from the town’s general fund account.

“I think the variable that might exist here is and I don’t know your books, but I do know that room tax money can vary depending on occupancy rates and what have you, and that sometimes room tax money can flow in at higher levels at other times,” he said.

Additionally, Parker noted that room tax revenues are commonly used for town projects involving economic development.

Following further discussion, the board agreed 3-2 to grant funding to RNDC with the stipulation that both county entities contribute $10,000.

Members Amy Riches and Dr. Tom Waters provided the nay votes.

Parker will take his case in front of the commissioners next Tuesday.

He is expected to approach NCREDA officials with his request at a later date.