By Selwyn Harris
The old adage “Politics makes for strange bedfellows,” could describe what is currently unfolding between the Nye County Board of Commissioners, Pahrump town officials, and some energetic residents.
Nye County District 4 Commissioner Butch Borasky’s decision to author an agenda item that would allow voters to decide whether they want the Pahrump Town Board transformed into an advisory board was applauded by most of those in the audience during the commissioner’s meeting on July 3.
Interestingly, many of those individuals clapping were the same people who called for Borasky’s recall nearly three years ago when he supported the construction of the Southern Nevada Federal Detention Facility on East Mesquite.
On Wednesday, Borasky said he does not hold any hard feelings or resentment toward the group, many of whom align themselves with Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community and its president Donna Cox who was behind the unsuccessful recall effort.
“I understand what they did and why they tried to do it and that’s water under the bridge. I don’t hold grudges. I will work with those same people anytime they want to sit down and work with me and it is all about a community working together. I am proud to live in an area that has both rednecks, wing nuts, and all kinds of really great people. I don’t mean that offensively but to me that is part of our community. It’s a very unique community and it’s part of what I live in and I love it,” he said.
What Borasky does not love is what he suggests is an air of arrogance surrounding some town board members, who he chose not to identify by name.
He said he came to that conclusion after sitting in on some of the town board meetings in recent months.
“The town board members were not really sensitive to the public’s views,” he noted.
Borasky was referring to the town’s decision to eliminate public comment on each and every agenda item as they came up — a policy change stemming from some of the marathon meetings the town board was recording.
If voters decide to oust the town board in November, it would take at least four years before the disbandment can occur because newly elected and re-elected town board members must serve out their four-year term.
“The same people that are seated now will still be there. That board stays in place and they will make recommendations to the county commissioners and the county commissioners will take final action. They wouldn’t have the authority to spend any funds,” Borasky said.
The commissioner also noted that the town manager’s position will not be necessary.
“I don’t think that we will need a town manager anymore. No offense to Mr. Kohbarger or anybody else, but if that scenario should happen and I’m speculating here, there wouldn’t be a need for his position,” he said.
Kohbarger, meanwhile, said that he does not believe the town will benefit from the elimination of the board.
“According to the NRS, they the commissioners are supposed to state why they don’t think the town board is doing its job and I don’t remember any of them stating that publicly. It was supposed to be by petition and it is my understanding the petition failed so why is it going on the ballot? The town board oversees the town of Pahrump; they make the rules and regulations, they make the policy and we enforce it and carry it out,” he said.
Kohbarger says he questions commissioners’ ability to govern Pahrump should voters decide to give them the authority.
“Lets just put it this way. What have they done for the county and what have they done for Pahrump in the past 10 years? I think that’s a question that they have to answer,” he said.
The town manager addressed claims that Borasky told local media outlets that they both had a heated conversation over the phone about the issue.
“It was only heated over the phone because Mr. Borasky could not answer the questions that I asked. He got flustered, he got angry, and he hung up on me. It was heated on his end,” he said.
Kohbarger took issue with the commissioners who he said have not yet been completely open on why they believe the town board cannot seem to get the job done.
“I again respectfully request that every commissioner stand up and put it in writing why they feel the town board is not doing their job. If they point to us spending money on Contour, wow, that is not a reason. I’ve seen the county spend millions of dollars on consultants to do all kinds of studies and they haven’t produced one job in Pahrump,” he said.
At present, there are three candidates seeking two seats on the board.
Bill Dolan and Frank Maurizio are two former board members seeking to win back their respective seats after losing in the 2010 election.
Both agree that voters have the right to decide if they want the town board to continue or be dissolved.
Dolan said the commissioners’ decision to put the question on the ballot will not deter his candidacy.
“We are still running the campaign that we started several months ago and we will continue to move forward with it because we know that Pahrump is a great town. We are not unlike any other town with problems and certain issues. We need to work through those as a community,” he said.
Dolan noted that some people he has spoken to expressed their thoughts on issues that are not applicable to the work that the town board does.
“I’ve had people say to me that our school system needs to be better funded but that is a county problem,” he said.
Maurizio said though he does not like the idea of the possible demise of the board, he thinks that the voters must have a right to decide how the town is run.
“If that is what the taxpayers and the residents of this town want I will go with it. It’s all I could do. If we can get two good people on the board, it might work but right now it’s not working. The town board is arrogant and this never would have happened if they weren’t so arrogant. Right now they are hurting the people of this community,” Maurizio said.
Dark horse candidate Amy Riches, a self described Tea Party supporter, made her thoughts known about the town board shake up.
She said she has mixed feelings about the town board possibly being pared down to an advisory board.
“On one hand, there’s some things that I’d like to get accomplished. For instance, I would like to draft some kind of a town ordinance that will protect our wells and keep them from being metered or people being forced to tie into city water or sewer. I think as an advisory board member I would have to put it before the county commission, so that type of thing bothers me. But to be honest, the town board brought this upon themselves. If I’m going to be an advisor, so be it because the people will have spoken,” she said.