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$500,000 approved for chip seal program

TONOPAH — Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen Tuesday persuaded fellow board members to take $500,000 from the Payment Equal to Taxes capital projects endowment fund for a chip seal program.

The fund had a $5.9 million balance as of the latest comptroller’s report. It was built up from the PETT funds Nye County used to receive under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act for Yucca Mountain before the Obama administration zeroed out the funds in 2009.

The county held a roads workshop in late June to solicit comment from the public about what streets needed chip sealed. Those suggestions were matched with a list proposed by public works. The annual chip seal program has been used to pave numerous Pahrump streets, but didn’t take place last year due to budget problems. The primary purpose is to prevent a listing of Pahrump by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a non-attainment area under the Clean Air Act for fugitive dust.

Schinhofen said the two county commissioners on the Regional Transportation Commission, himself and Commissioner Frank Carbone, were both concerned about the funds available for the chip seal program and what little work could be done with it. The Nye County Public Works Department will be bringing to the RTC a list of roads to be chip sealed at their next meeting at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20, preceding the next county commission meeting.

“This is just so they have money and then the specific roads will be brought before the board,” Schinhofen said.

In his road report, Public Works Director Dave Fanning said crews were still busy cleaning up the mess left by a rain storm July 28, which struck the central part of Pahrump Valley hard. Commissioners relayed their own calls from residents, Fanning told Commission Chairman Butch Borasky residents who can’t access their driveways will be given priority over those who can, in clearing debris.

“This flood I think people were a little more educated for some reason. We had calls, probably 40 to 50, normally we would have over 200. They were very well handled,” Fanning told Carbone.

Fanning complimented the work of Nye County Emergency Services Director Vance Payne and the Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Service for responding to emergencies.

“There were people who were stranded. They knew who to call. This was the first time it was handled in that manner,” Fanning said.

Carbone criticized the Nevada Department of Transportation, which has jurisdictions over state highways 160 and 372, over cleanup after the storm. He said NDOT was taking some of the dirt and dumping it on traffic islands.

Schinhofen said after the storm he had a change of heart about requiring more street improvements.

“I’ve always guffawed at gutters and curbing but Basin (Road) showed the need,” he said. “That’s something I think we need to really address in the future is curb and gutter for those areas and for the RTC it’s something we might want to look at.”

One area to study for curb and gutter improvements might be the Calvada Boulevard entrance to the county complex, he said.

In other county commission news, commissioners accepted a $50,724 bid from Industrial Light and Power Co., of Pahrump, to install electrical service to six street lights on Homestead Road, including the trench work, pavement cuts and wiring of the electrical conduit.

Fanning said the work was going to be done along with the improvements built on Homestead Road. The county had been working with Valley Electric Association on a solar program for the street lights, he said.

“They dropped their solar program. When the new people came in, they didn’t know anything about what the old people left behind. They’re creating for us a void with this project. We were trying to get the price down,” Fanning said of Valley Electric.

But the quote from Industrial Light and Power, the only bidder, was in the ballpark of what the county planned to spend, he said.

Fanning said residents on Elderberry Street near Homestead were concerned about the traffic, Schinhofen said he was also approached by residents on Dandelion Street.

Commissioners also voted to apply for right-of-way on about a half-mile of Quail Road between Amargosa Farm Road and Palo Verde Road in Amargosa Valley. A resident previously held the right-of-way permit with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but it was allowed to expire. Fanning said the county had been maintaining the road, even though it didn’t have an easement with the BLM.

A $349,370 contract was awarded to Mesquite Electric for improvements at the Tonopah Airport, contingent upon approval of a $450,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant. The work will include constructing a helicopter landing pad and an access road on an existing airport apron. A segmented circle, precision approach path indicators and automatic gates will be replaced. The FAA is funding 93.75 percent of the cost, Nye County approved up to $53,562 in matching funds.

PVT staff members contributed to this report.

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