Former Pahrump Regional Planning Commissioner Walt Grudzinski and Dave Caudle, a member of the new Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee, have joined the race for District 5 county commissioner, a position currently held by Dan Schinhofen.
They join Pahrump Town Board member Bill Dolan, who already announced his candidacy.
Grudzinski moved to Pahrump in 2009 and served on the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission less than six months before resigning to run for Nevada District 36 Assemblyman in June 2012. Grudzinski polled 759 votes, 27 percent of the total, in the June 2012 Republican primary won by James Oscarson with 52 percent of the vote.
Grudzinski said he was a city council member in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in the late 1990s, after serving on the Daly City Civic Association, which was an advisory board overseeing an unincorporated area in Prince William County, Va. He also served on the I-95 Task Force and Planning Commission which dealt with traffic congestion on the I-95 corridor going into Washington, D.C.
Grudzinski retired after 43 years in the Department of Defense, including the Defense Intelligence Agency. He still has a consulting contract through June 30 and missed the annual Lincoln Day Dinner for an engagement at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Grudzinski said Schinhofen isn’t doing a lot for his district. He said the county should be exercising more control over the budget, preparing a water management plan and preparing to take over town government.
“Right now we have an issue with the budget. We have county offices overspending their money. We have a sheriff”s office that is way overspent. The Nevada Revised Statutes said really you’re not supposed to do that, but knowing how government and the budgets work, from the city all the way up to federal, people have to spend their money or they don’t get paid next year. Schinhofen disagrees with that,” Grudzinski said.
A lot of people in District 5 are on public water and sewer systems, he said, adding State Engineer Jason King has made veiled threats in published reports about taking away people’s water rights.
“We have several water boards that are supposed to put together a water management plan, none of that is happening,” Grudzinski said. “That’s going to impact me because I’m going to pay more for water and sewer. We’ve got to go in there and do something about it and I don’t see that happening.”
Grudzinski said he has experience transitioning human intelligence sources from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines into the Defense Intelligence Agency, which took several years to move resources, assets and budgets.
“I am very familiar with the budgeting process from the city level on up to the federal government level. I’ve crafted budgets, executed budgets and oversaw budgets. So I’ll bring that up to the table as well,” Grudzinski said.
“You have to be prepared to assume all the functions of the town, fire department, a big budget item, another budget item, the fairgrounds. Over at the fairgrounds for example you have eight soccer fields. Are those fields going to remain dirt?” he asked.
The Pahrump Fire and Rescue Service recently bought a used pumping rig for $180,000. That will be another budget item the county needs to be prepared for. But Grudzinski said, “we can’t even take care of what’s in the county and we’re taking over the town of Pahrump.”
The recent approval of $401,000 for the sheriff’s department training facility using simunitions will also require a lot of peripheral costs, he said, including maintenance, a generator for electricity, paying overtime for sheriff’s deputy training, insurance, protective clothing and weapons.
What economic development is posted on the county’s website is mostly low paying jobs, he said, requiring young people to seek work elsewhere.
“We have to look at jobs they can buy houses with and buy cars, not minimum wage jobs. I don’t see that happening,” Grudzinski said.
A resident of Mountain Falls, Grudzinski said the southern end of town could use a convenience store so residents don’t have to drive eight to nine miles. He complained there also aren’t any playgrounds in the southern end of town.
Grudzinski said he predicted correctly if the Nevada Supreme Court validated the 2012 ballot question dissolving the Pahrump Town Board those town board members would mount an incorporation effort.
“Me personally I don’t think we need to be incorporated, being part of a civic association in an area that was unincorporated that was two times the population we got,” he said.
While Grudzinski is a relative newcomer to Pahrump, he said Schinhofen was also a newcomer when he first ran for office in 2006.
Caudle was a quality assurance manager for EG&G Energy Measurements, a Nevada Test Site contractor, he retired in 1995 after 13 years and moved to Pahrump in 1999. Before that he had an electrical contracting business. Caudle became a member of the Nye County Republican Party Central Committee and was elected a delegate to the Nye County Republican Convention in 2012 and the state Republican Party convention. Caudle is a captain for precinct 19.
Caudle said he was asked by Commissioner Butch Borasky to be on the Basin 162 management committee representing domestic well owners.
“I’ve watched the growth and I’ve watched the contraction with all the way the economy is going. I don’t think with the amount of water that we’ve got here in the valley, or at least what they’re telling us we’ve got, just unsubstantial growth is not what we should have. We should have some controlled growth and all that. I think with my background in quality assurance and all that, that would be a good fit for the county commission,” Caudle said. “I’ve been a manager all my life. I think that’s what the county commission is all about, managing the growth and the budgets and so forth to make sure we don’t overextend in any of those areas.”
Caudle said the Basin 162 committee keeps asking the state engineer to give the board an idea what the laws are and how they can operate. The figures keep changing also, he said, the state is now accepting a recharge rate of 20,000 acre feet into Pahrump Valley not 12,000 acre feet. But projects have been approved for a Big Five Sporting Goods store and a new China Wok restaurant that will require water, he said.
“If we’re already using more water than what the replenishment rate is, if we keep building we’re going to have a bigger problem,” Caudle said.
Caudle authored various letters to the editor. In a letter published Feb. 19 he said county commissioners weren’t completely informed before voting in a conference call to take over a private utility at Spring Mountain Motor Sports and a resolution hadn’t even been drafted; he charged the meeting violated Nevada Revised Statutes by excluding the public.
In a June 2012 letter to the editor, Caudle criticized rules requiring a sheriff’s blue card and a three-day wait to acquire firearms in Clark County. At a June 2013 county commission meeting, he was concerned county officials would be able to come onto property and tear down a building without the owner’s knowledge with an emergency abatement ordinance.