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Officials work toward smooth town transfer

According to most accounts, Nye County officials are prepared to assume the duties of town officials if the Nevada Supreme Court upholds last November’s ballot question reverting the independent town board into an advisory body.

The town’s legal counsel maintains that county officials failed to follow state law in placing the question on the November 2012 ballot.

Town officials also believe commissioners refused to debate what was the best form of government for the residents of Pahrump.

Shortly after the election, town officials filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction on the action where Judge Robert Lane ruled in favor of the county.

Lane’s decision prompted town attorneys to take their case to Nevada’s highest court where all parties are now eagerly awaiting a final decision.

Meanwhile, Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said this week that steps are being taken by the county to assure a smooth transition if the court upholds Lane’s ruling.

“We have directed staff and they are working on it. We are looking to make sure all bases are covered and all services are covered. We are doing our best not to duplicate and at the same time keep employees employed,” he said.

The District 5 commissioner also said it’s still too early to determine what town positions may be axed as a result of the changeover.

“We are not at that point yet. Because we are dealing with people’s lives and livelihood, we don’t want to say anything too soon to cause anymore turmoil and we are going to do our best to mitigate that,” he said.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said she has been communicating with county officials on the issue and she is prepared to relinquish her duties when and if the time comes.

Holecheck said that not much will change if the board is dissolved into a powerless advisory board.

“The town will still be here. Will some jobs need to be at some point and time, consumed or incorporated into current staffing levels? That is for them to decide but I hope that they will be very cognizant of the skills the people that are here are bringing to the table,” she said.

As far as the future of her own position, the town manager said she does not know if she will have a job next year.

“Selfishly, from my point, I don’t know where I am in the picture because I don’t know if there will still need to be a town manager or whether that position will become more of a liaison to the county manager. I don’t know how that will all work,” she said.

Schinhofen, meanwhile, said when the time comes, commissioners will hold a public meeting to inform the community about the transition process.

Schinhofen also made reference to how the county would handle the town’s revenues.

“There’s been talk that we are going to sweep their revenues and we can’t. It’s just like Beatty, who has their own property tax, which has to be used in Beatty. The revenues that are generated here will be used here,” he said.

Town Board member Dr. Tom Waters said he remains confident that the court will rule in favor of the town by virtue of Nevada law.

He noted that when the ruling will come down is anybody’s guess.

“We are hoping they will have a decision by the end of this year. I for one think that the town has a very good case and I see no reason why the Supreme Court would not,” agree he said.

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