weather icon Clear

Carbone, Cox vote against anti-drug grant

Nye County commissioners Frank Carbone and Donna Cox voted against applying for a 2015 Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to fund two narcotics detectives, a part-time office assistant and drug-buying money.

The application will be submitted to the Nevada Office of Criminal Justice Assistance as the motion, passed by a 3-2 vote. The county will have to contribute $151,660 as a local match and is requesting $140,582 in federal funds. The request from the sheriff’s office says the county has participated in this grant program for at least 15 years.

The two narcotics detectives are paid $33.58 per hour and $34.25 per hour respectively; the county is requesting $33,302 and $33,930 annually in federal money to help pay their salaries. The county asks $82,125 annually from the feds for total salaries and wages, then there’s $40,456 in benefits. The application also includes $30,000 for buying drugs and $10,000 for information. The sheriff’s office is offering to pay $22,000 of that $40,000.

Carbone said he understood the employees have been with the program since 1999. Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall said the grant started in 1994. Various personnel have moved into the narcotics positions; he guessed the narcotics officers have been with the grant funded program five years or longer.

Carbone wanted to fit the employees into the regular budget instead of paying them with grants.

“We’re looking at a way to save taxpayers money. This is one way to offset the cost while maintaining a level of service within the sheriff’s office, particularly in enforcing narcotics laws within Nye County,” Marshall said.

“If in fact this goes away and we don’t accept for you guys, don’t go out for this grant again, what does that do to you?” Carbone asked.

“That would dissolve the narcotics team depending on what the commissioners approve for the level of funding. Employees could possibly be laid off,” Marshall replied.

Then Cox chimed in with questions.

“Could you tell me why we need to have more narcotics detectives? Has there been an increase in the drugs? Is this a warning? Is this something you’re expecting, more problems?” Cox asked.

Marshall said the grant doesn’t add officers but maintains their current staff. He didn’t have figures on whether there’s been an increase in drug activity.

“If we have all these narcotics officers and we need to keep them on, we need to kind of justify why we’re doing this. Are we making any progress on the war against drugs in this valley?” Cox asked.

Commissioner Lorinda Wichman asked her, “did you read the agenda?” drawing some laughs. The main agenda items included zoning medical marijuana.

“I’d like to know if we’re hiring all these detectives are we doing any good or not and I’d kind of like to know what the statistics are on this, are we going backwards of forwards?” Cox asked.

Upon further questioning, Marshall said the employees receiving that grant wouldn’t be on the bottom of the list of employees to be laid off if the grant wasn’t funded. Layoffs would be based on seniority according to the collective bargaining agreement.

District Attorney Brian Kunzi said the commission doesn’t have the authority to determine how many narcotics detectives are hired in the sheriff’s office. They only have authority to give resources to the sheriff, who has the discretion to use it as he sees fit.

“This can’t be a debate on if we will lose any narcotics officers if this grant goes away,” Kunzi said.

Wichman explained her support for the item.

“Any time that this commission has the opportunity to attract the taxes that the taxpayers in this county have sent to the federal government I will do it. Yes, you have to be aware of what strings are attached,” she said.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Balloons are back: Pahrump festival will see a 9th year

The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce’s decision to cancel the 9th Annual Pahrump Balloon Festival earlier this year was a source of much dismay and disappointment for area residents but thanks to the efforts of the Dubin family and Balloons Over Pahrump, the event is now set to make a comeback this fall.

How Pahrump came together to feed veterans at the Rib Extravaganza

Rising to a challenge posed just three days prior to the big event, the Pahrump community came through in a big way for the “Support Our Troops Rib Extravaganza” with combined donations totaling more than $4,000 and hundreds of veterans able to enjoy a hearty lunch at absolutely no cost.

Nye County’s CASA holding Hawaiian vacation raffle

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, nonprofits across the country have been hit hard with reduced funding, but the needs those organizations fulfill have certainly not lessened.

Nye County sheriff completes chemotherapy

Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly gave an update on her health following a cancer diagnosis last year.

Pahrump butterfly release a tribute to lives lost

One hundred live butterflies were released during the annual Nathan Adelson Hospice butterfly release at the Calvada Eye this past Sunday.

Officials seek funds for new convention center as part of Pahrump Fairgrounds development

Nye County and the town of Pahrump have been making steady strides in the last few years toward developing the Pahrump Fairgrounds and Tim Sutton, manager for both the town and county, outlined all that has been accomplished at the site and what’s still to come in the future.