weather icon Clear

County will co-sponsor airport grant application

Nye County Commissioners Tuesday agreed to co-sponsor a $750,000 grant application by the town of Pahrump for an environmental impact statement at the Pahrump Airport.

Commissioners previously passed a resolution to support the town’s grant application, but Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said the Federal Aviation Administration wanted more clarification the county will be a co-sponsor, which will take over as the governing board of the town of Pahrump Jan. 5, 2015.

Nye County, as a co-sponsor, would be legally and financially obligated to carry out the requirements of the grant, the DA explained. Without co-sponsorship from Nye County he said it was unlikely the FAA would approve the grant for the EIS.

Commissioner Frank Carbone voted against the request, Commissioner Donna Cox didn’t attend the afternoon session of the commissioner’s meeting and was absent for the vote.

Kunzi said he has been dealing with the FAA for several months over the town takeover issue.

“That’s caused a lot of consternation with the FAA. They’re very uncertain of the legal status of the town with everything that’s going on, so in discussing it with them, I finally asked them, look we need to stop this little dance. It appears your little issue is whether or not the county will formally become a co-sponsor, which means the county could be jointly and severably liable for the obligations under the grant. Their argument is the county has co-sponsored every other FAA grant they’ve done,” Kunzi told commissioners. “They think the county brings a lot of expertise to the table, as a co-sponsor they could assist in the grant.”

The DA said Nye County would be responsible for the grant anyway in January. He said the FAA felt the county may not stand up to its obligation to pursue the project, in which case the grant would go away.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the FAA wants to know if the town will have standing in the future to receive other airport improvement program grants. The co-sponsorship will give the district attorney more comfort reaffirming the resolution of support taken last year, she said.

Holecheck said she hoped the town and the county could continue to move forward on the Pahrump Airport project which she admitted takes years and years. She said they’re now getting ready to do the airport design.

Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said the county is taking a step further than the resolution of support, which isn’t really legally binding, as being a co-sponsor makes the county liable for the grant. But Commissioner Butch Borasky made the motion to approve.

“We do this with Beatty, Gabbs and Tonopah all the time, there’s no reason we can’t have an airport here,” Borasky said.

Carbone said the county assigned the public works director to act as a go-between with the town on the airport project.

“I’m not comfortable yet, I need to understand a lot more than just what the little bit that we’ve been getting. I know I sat down with a couple of folks from the town in the past,” Carbone said. “In my mind I don’t think I have enough information for me to make a decision.”

Schinhofen joked, “As far as the airport is concerned my wife doesn’t want me to do anything with it because she says the flight path is going to be right over our house. But I see the benefits with having it here.”

Commissioner Lorinda Wichman quoted former Commissioner Joni Eastley, who sat on a state airport committee, who said, “if you build a highway you can go from here to there, if you build an airport you can go anywhere.”

The existing county-run airports in Tonopah, Beatty and Gabbs receive millions in FAA grants, which pay for 95 percent of the project costs. At the Tuesday meeting, commissioners awarded a $1.07 million contract to Pearson Brothers Construction to grade a runway safety and object free area at the Beatty Airport, and a $144,000 contract with Atkins North America for engineering and management work. The county is applying for a $1.15 million FAA grant application for this project.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Highway 160 roadwork wraps up Monday

Drivers in the Pahrump Valley will be glad to know that by Monday, the roadwork on Highway 160 through the heart of town is expected to be completed and traffic in the area will soon resume its normal pace on a new and much smoother asphalt surface.

Landlords urged to add low-income units in Nye County

The Nevada Rural Housing Authority is seeking landlords to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program. There’s a critical need for more low-income units here.

Why Nye County voters won’t be deciding on a new diesel tax this year

Last year, the Nye County Commission authorized the placement of a question on the 2022 ballot, asking voters whether or not the county should establish its own 5-cent diesel tax to help fund the road department’s activities across the third largest county in the U.S. But a missed deadline means that won’t happen this year.

Environmental consulting group will help water board secure grants for projects

The Nye County Water District has been in operation for more than a decade and while the body has managed to accomplish certain items in that time, much of its duties have gone unmet. This was one of the reasons behind the decision to recall all of the water board’s members in late 2021 and essentially reestablish a new board. That board is now is working to remedy previous issues and one path it is pursuing is additional funding sources that can help expand the water district’s ability to meet its mission statement.

Diaper Run to benefit Pahrump’s First Choice Pregnancy Center

The 14th Annual Diaper Run will take place this September and the cost is just $20 per rider, plus a package of diapers. For passengers, the cost is $15 plus a pack of unscented baby wipes. Registration includes lunch, which will be served at the conclusion of the poker run.

Nevada still struggling with unemployment claims

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is working through a backlog of unemployment claims amid low staff levels.