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Cox: Pahrump town jobs on chopping block

In contrast to an announcement made by Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox, a decision to eliminate Pahrump town decisions has not yet been made.

Cox announced at a Monday meeting of the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community, that Pahrump town positions duplicated by county employees, will be eliminated after the first of the year. Those positions include that of town attorney and town manager.

“The town manager will go because it is a duplication of services,” said Cox, adding the cut will will net a savings of over $100,000 to the town. Added to that savings will be the $350,000 to $400,000 annual expense for town legal services, she said.

“They are going to be gone,” Cox said. “That is another duplication that we don’t need. Anything that is a duplicated service, people will not be working any more.”

The town will maintain its autonomy, Cox said, because they will still have their own budget. Ambulance service is also on the chopping block, according to Cox.

“The ambulance service can be privatized,” the commissioner said. “There is no requirement that I know of that says we have to have ambulance service.”

Regarding representation of the town via an advisory board to the County Commission, Cox said the choice of an elected or appointed advisory board is available. Under either option, the County Commission will maintain control over the town budget. Cox cautioned against an elected advisory board, however, saying there are costs associated with an election.

“We don’t even have to have an advisory board, but I feel that we need it, the way I look at the law,” she said. “At this point the County Commissioners will be the advisory board.”

Cox said the fire department is another town funded item to be dealt with.

“I don’t know where that’s going to go,” Cox said. “Chief (Scott) Lewis can see his job is on the line and he’s trying to create his own job as a Nye County Fire Marshal.”

Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen said Tuesday none of those decisions have been made.

“Ms. Cox is speaking for herself,” Schinhofen said. “The County Commission has not had a meeting on those issues and those decisions can not be made outside of a public meeting.”

Some of those decisions, he said, may be made at the commission meeting this Monday.

Concerning a town advisory board, Schinhofen said that the county commission is the “de facto” town board. “The county commission is now the acting town board,” he said. A decision regarding the continuation of town advisory boards, for tourism, nuclear waste, and other issues has not yet been made, according to Schinhofen.

Schinhofen did say that he would like to see a comparison in costs between a private and publicly funded ambulance service.

Additionally, he said that the county commission will consider having the district attorney advise them regarding legal services for the town.

County Manager Pam Webster declined comment on Cox’s claims, but did say “none of these items have been considered by the (County Commission) yet.”

The Nye County Commission will meet on Monday, Jan. 5, at 10 a.m. at 101 Radar Road in Tonopah. Sitting as the governing body of the town of Pahrump the commission will discuss and take possible action on:

• The continued Pahrump Town Manager position, possible organization of responsibilities and possible termination of any existing employment relationships.

• The processing of any town claims, warrants and related financial matters.

• Legal services for the town of Pahrump.

• Directions to staff regarding Pahrump town advisory boards.

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