The Nye County Commission meeting normally scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Tonopah, will be held Wednesday as commissioners shuttle back and forth to Washington, D.C.
Commission Chairman Butch Borasky said he didn’t want to hold the meeting without a full quorum, Commissioner Lorinda Wichman has been in the nation’s capital on public lands issues and wouldn’t be back in time.
Borasky himself will be traveling to the district this week as a newly-appointed member of the National Association of Counties Transportation Steering Committee. Borasky said if he gets the opportunity he’ll be promoting the Interstate 11 proposal, which would go from Mexico to Canada, while also connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas. He would like to have some influence on the proposed route, to provide the most benefit to Nye County, which the interstate would traverse.
Commissioner Dan Schinhofen participated in a conference call with the Board of County Commissioners while he too was in Washington, where he attended a meeting of the Energy Communities Alliance, a private association consisting of communities where nuclear facilities are located. Schinhofen was recently appointed the county’s nuclear waste liaison.
Only commissioners Frank Carbone and Donna Cox won’t be making the trip to the capital this week.
Carbone said hopefully at the Wednesday meeting, Comptroller Susan Paprocki will have a report on the Payment Equal to Taxes he requested. The PETT funds, now referred to as settlement agreement funds, were received by Nye County from the U.S. Department of Energy for the land value of the Yucca Mountain project, until President Obama zeroed out funds for the project in 2009. The settlements were usually for five-year agreements, the last agreement called for annual payments of $10 million peaking at $11.25 million in 2007.
Paprocki said some of the funds are restricted, like the emergency endowment fund and the emergency fund. The special projects endowment was frequently tapped into, but county commissioners have to approve them for a special project, she said.
A treasurer’s report presented at the Feb. 5 county commissioners’ meeting showed that as of the end of 2012, Nye County had $6.23 million left in the special projects endowment, after $2.27 million in disbursements; there was $9.43 million left in the educational endowment fund; the county has $2.3 million in the health endowment fund and $6.1 million in the emergency endowment fund.
“I think that there’s been so many questions out there about what the PETT funds are used for, I just think it’s time for us to put together a presentation that at least allows the folks to see where the PETT funds went. That’s my interest too because I’d like to see where it went,” Carbone said.
In the good old days, when the DOE money was flowing freely to the tune of $10 million per year, a PETT fund budget approved in July 2006 included money for a number of projects:
The projects included: $2 million for a Calvada Eye rehabilitation fund; $291,700 in carryover funds for Simkins Park; $243,728 for a Tonopah Public Utilities sewer system project; $985,183 for a Pahrump chip sealing project and $340,233 for Tonopah; $750,000 for the Homestead Road and Highway 160 traffic light; $750,000 in matching funds for impact fees; $550,000 for the Harris microwave system; $500,000 for the Tonopah fire station; $375,000 for a Pahrump flood control master plan and $350,000 for a Wheeler Wash flood control study; and $200,000 for connecting fees to the Southern Nevada Area Communications Council SNACC .
Public works received money back in 2007 and 2008 from PETT for water trucks, motor graders, street sweepers and semi-trucks. There was $1.1 million for a Geographic Information System, $275,000 for an Eagle software package for the Tyler Technologies system and replacing computers.
There was $175,000 for a Beatty downtown grant, $421,804 for Pahrump Museum improvements and $175,000 for a Round Mountain downtown improvement grant. Another $1.75 million was appropriated to remodel the Nye County Courthouse in Pahrump.