Interim Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck’s first week on the job was literally a stormy one.
Holecheck had not yet finished arranging her new office when she was forced to go into semi-crisis mode when a Sunday afternoon monsoon hit the valley, causing severe flooding and substantial damage to homes and businesses.
The town manager said she spent most of Monday on the phone fielding calls from local residents wanting to know about cleanup efforts within the community.
“It was hectic. The storm was something no one planned on so that kind of threw us off of our ‘to do’ list a little bit, but that’s alright, we are getting everything under control. It’s only been five days. I have a little bit more on my plate than I anticipated but I’m loving it. I have gotten a lot of calls on who’s responsible to clean up the roads and the streets,” she said.
Holecheck said she urged residents to try and remain patient as area crews made their way around town to complete the work.
At the same time, she said she has not taken her eye off of the regular day-to-day business of the town.
“It doesn’t happen every day that we get a storm to that degree. Other than that, we just have projects in the works. It’s transitioning and I am meeting a lot of people. There have been a lot of phone calls where people were introducing themselves to me. It’s all okay and at the same time it is a bit overwhelming,” she said.
Chief among Holecheck’s priorities is the state of the town’s finances.
“The main thing is that I am trying to learn exactly where we are in the budget process, how well we are doing and where all of the revenues are coming from and what are our expenditures. We then try to look at revenues and expenditures with some of the capital improvement plans. I think the town board wants to keep the 2013 goals and objectives in place that were established with the previous town manager. If the board wants to keep those in place, it’s imperative that I begin to know what those are and run with them,” she said.
Last May the town board approved the 2012-13 fiscal budget.
Holecheck said a closer look at some of the upcoming projects slated for the town is necessary to help determine which direction the community should go for the betterment of all.
“What we want to be able to do is to look at those projects that can be done fairly quickly at a reasonable price. We need to refurbish bathrooms at some of the parks. Another one of the things we are looking at is a basketball court at Simkins Park. It would be so nice to get something like that done by the fall when people want to go outdoors. What you want to be able to do is look at some of those goals and show the community that we are trying to accomplish some short-term goals and not just on these 10 or 20-year vision plans,” she said.
One long-term plan for the town board is the “Adventure Springs” project at the Pahrump Fairgrounds.
Holecheck said the project can use some type of simple impetus to help move it forward.
“You only see a parking lot out there right now and maybe what we need to do is think in terms of something that we can do to get really off the ground. Maybe that means building soccer fields. I am from the school of thought that asks what can we do for the kids? That would be great for bringing more money into town because a lot of events come in and a lot of soccer teams want to know where they can go play in our town. Of course, this is all contingent on board approval but if we can get something going like that, it would be a positive step forward,” she said.
On the issue of town board meetings, Holecheck said that she would welcome ideas on how to possibly expand public comment for those who feel they are not being heard.
“In working with the town board, we are trying to come up with maybe a revised format so that the public understands when they afforded public comment and it’s afforded more on a consistent basis so they are not wondering. We are hoping to get that in place if not this meeting, the following meeting. We’ll make an announcement that it’s important to hear the public’s viewpoint,” she said.
Holecheck also had positive words for the town staff as she closes out her first full week on the job.
“They are great and I could not have done without them. They are just amazing,” she said.