By Mark Waite
Nye County will submit applications for federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the Gabbs water system and for acquiring an historic property for the Beatty Museum.
Few of the federal dollars flow to Pahrump projects for a reason, Nye County Grant Administrator Amy Fanning explained to county commissioners Tuesday. At least 51 percent of the residents have to have an income 80 percent below the median family income, though programs targeting certain segments of the population can be submitted.
Last year the Court Appointed Special Advocate CASA program in Pahrump was awarded $20,000 to train volunteers, but other than that, all the CDBG funds went to other Nye County communities in the last several years.
Last year, $123,770 was requested to reline the Gabbs water tanks. In 2011, the county submitted a $250,000 application for the rehabilitation of the Belvada Hotel in Tonopah and a master plan for the Beatty Water and Sanitation District. A $190,000 application for a Tonopah sewage effluent reuse plan was approved in 2010.
This year, Fanning suggested applicants outline projects in phases for funding, as the federal government cut back on the program.
“CDBG has been slashed very horribly over the past couple years,” Fanning told commissioners.
“We’re lucky the federal government gave any money for CDBG. That’s how badly it got slashed,” Commissioner Joni Eastley added.
The Nye County 2012-13 Housing and Community Development Needs Statement outlined critical housing needs for the mentally ill in Pahrump; independent living housing for the elderly in Amargosa Valley and affordable, decent housing in Beatty. The public facility needs included a No to Abuse facility in Pahrump, recreational facilities in Tonopah and Amargosa Valley and a larger and updated Pahrump community center. Amargosa Valley needs domestic violence services and there is more need for home care to the elderly.
Gabbs needs a $571,000 upgrade of their sewer collection and sewer treatment facilities; the town obtained $161,000 for phase I of the project from CDBG money in 2007. Beatty wants $500,000 to repair the water system at the former Bullfrog mine site as possible economic development. Tonopah wants to continue the Century Plan, a comprehensive economic development strategy.
“I’m constantly being asked why Pahrump doesn’t have any of these and I see the town board didn’t put any applications forward,” Commissioner Dan Schinhofen asked.
Fanning said the town board submitted a $90,000 application for a shade structure at Ian Deutch Memorial Park. If the park was in an area where at least 51 percent of the people had incomes below 80 percent of the median household income, it could qualify, she said.
County Manager Pam Webster said the county could break up Pahrump into different segments that could qualify for CDBG money.
Of the successful applicants this year, the Beatty Museum and Historical Society requested $66,500 to acquire an Episcopal church across from the museum that was built in 1921 and was originally in Rhyolite, according to Amina Anderson, manager of the Beatty Museum.
“We would like to be able to use the building for a number of activities, as an extension of the museum, for educational programs. It would be a place for Boy Scouts and everyone else, to encourage creative activity by our youth,” Anderson said.
The property is owned by Riley and Susie McCoy, she said. That led Commissioner Gary Hollis to suggest a swap for county property.
Nye County Public Works requested $150,000 for a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition SCADA system for the Gabbs well facility and transmission main, but would settle for a pressure reducing valve. Jack Osburn, from public works, said water flows in southern Gabbs were at levels that violated state standards. Gabbs has a population of 358 residents.
Six applications were considered. Among the four that weren’t submitted was a request by the Beatty General Improvement District for $239,600 to repair the swimming pool. They also requested $55,281 for recreational upgrades to make playground equipment at Cottonwood Park compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, Beatty representatives said a private grant may be available.
Beatty has 1,050 residents and a median household income of $24,991.
Nye County Health and Human Services wanted $20,000 to replace carpeting at the Beatty Senior Center. Eastley suggested using county capital funds.
The Mount Charleston Corporation requested $20,000 for a Pahrump Valley workforce training and community leadership program. Eastley had a number of questions about that project.
The corporation proposed a workforce training and leadership program at multiple site locations throughout Pahrump Valley. Besides $20,000 in CDBG money, organizers were budgeted $10,000 from matching funds. Most of the trainer-developers, facilitators, panel guests and presenters would volunteer their time.
Short but intense seminars and workshops would be set out to design, develop and offer a series of applied skill-set building courses for underemployed, unemployed or poverty stricken, the corporation states.
The objective is to provide education and training at no cost to those with household incomes 80 percent or less of median income for Pahrump residents, which is estimated at $34,860.
Mount Charleston Corporation said Nye County has a poverty rate of 18.9 percent, and its household median income is well below the $55,726 state level, statistics that contribute to being designated a Hub Zone county. Real unemployment they estimated at 25 percent in Pahrump.
The Mount Charleston Corporation stated: “Through a community commitment to education and workforce development and job creation through entrepreneurship, business development, leadership development and civic engagement, together we can begin the process of moving Pahrump once again to economic security and prosperity. Education and training leads to job sustainment and job opportunities; this is the primary purpose of this project.”
Allan Parker, business consultant for the Rural Nevada Development Corporation, said the MCC was a non-profit corporation. He said there is an unmet need in Pahrump Valley for training people for workforce development, as well as actual life skills like budgeting and financing.
But Eastley had a series of questions for Parker to answer. Parker said Bill Verbeck, former director of the Pahrump Great Basin College campus was the MCC pro bono chief executive officer, who relocated to Reno Oct. 1 for family reasons. But Parker said Verbeck would continue to serve in his capacity with the corporation and travel between the two areas.
Eastley asked whether the program received funding from the RNDC and whether Verbeck was given funding for an office in Reno. Parker said Verbeck was named an independent contractor for the RNDC as the western Nevada region representative.
Eastley wondered how the Mount Charleston Corporation strategy differed from EDEN, a previous economic development authority. Parker said this would be on more of an individual level, rather than attracting businesses or corporations.
Nye County severed its ties with EDEN and decided to become its own economic development authority.
When Eastley asked about any successes, Parker said MCC proposed a series of curriculums for the construction trades, before that industry plummeted with the housing downturn. A class was offered for solar technicians, but the program went into limbo after that, he said.