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FAA airport grant, fireworks contract debated

The Pahrump town board finally got to revisit some items tabled during its last meeting earlier this month.

Board members were expected to vote on two separate agenda items pertaining to the proposed Pahrump Valley General Aviation Airport.

The first item relates to awarding a consultant contract for a feasibility study on the proposed airport location at the south end of town.

The second item pertains to a grant proposal from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the completion of phase II of the airport’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The total amount of the grant is $800,000.

If approved, the town would contribute roughly 5 percent, or about $40,000.

Included in the town’s backup material is a company identified as QED Airport and Aviation Consulting.

The small firm, based in Florida, consists of roughly 20 professionals with diverse backgrounds, credentials and experience, according to their profile.

Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the study is crucial to determine the feasibility of constructing such a facility and time is of the essence.

“One of the requests from the FAA is that we have a financial feasibility study by the end of 2013. That’s a good thing because it says we bring in someone who is very used to building and constructing airports. And they do a very in-depth study by determining if we can afford it and if it will be good for us. Now it is time to get that done because we are approaching a deadline. This kind of study can take 15 to 20 weeks and that’s a long time,” she said.

Holecheck said she has serious concerns about getting all of the prerequisites in order to be able to move forward with the project.

“I was hoping that we were not going to run out of time and maybe lose the grant money. That’s why we have the other item for the brand new FAA grant. It starts the clock again with another four years in case we didn’t get something done. We want to keep this ongoing because it takes years to get a general aviation airport,” she said.

The relatively new town manager also reaffirmed her interest in getting other local entities involved with the project.

“We also need to be cognizant of our partner and that is Nye County. When you are doing a big project like that, you want to be able to work in concert. We have the Bureau of Land Management; we have Nye County and ourselves. I want the community to know that it is really not a one-person show,” she said.

Members also considered retaining and keeping in place, goals and objectives that were submitted for former town manager Bill Kohbarger.

Holecheck said those goals and objectives will likely carry over to her leadership even though she recently signed a six-month contract as interim town manager, which does give her a lot of time compared to Kohbarger.

Holecheck said she is prepared for the challenge.

“The board may just want to keep that in place and I don’t have a problem with it. Anytime you have a transition, the more you can have consistency. It’s better that way because we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I will accept those goals and objectives, some of which have been completed so I don’t have a problem with keeping those at all,” she said.

Holecheck also noted the agenda document itself was part of the goals and objectives that she recently marked off her list.

Prior to the current agenda the wording was changed to allow for the board to vote on and expedite the action items in a more efficient manner.

Instead of “discussing and possibly deciding” on an item, the board will now “consider” it.

“It better fits because it makes it a little easier for board members to know how to make a motion. It is actually what the board was already doing. According to the Legislature, the ‘for possible action’ phrase has to be at the end and in parenthesis,” she said.

Public comment will also undergo a new format.

Holecheck said she wants to see residents comment on each item as they appear on the agenda rather than at the outset and end of the meetings.

“We are going to try and allow public comment on each and every action item. At the end we are going to have a concluding public, board and staff comments. It doesn’t seem to happen very often but again, we want to afford the public the time to make any comments that may have come up during the meeting,” she said.

The board also “considered” an action item to either seek a renewal of the present Pyrotechnic Fireworks contract or to issue a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for alternate organizations to bid for the 2014 Fourth of July fireworks display at Petrack Park.

The board’s decisions will appear in Friday’s edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.

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