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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: Stop blaming our commissioners for problems in Pahrump

I continue to hear complaints about the way the Nye County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) are handling the “management” and “operations” within the Town of Pahrump. I will say in this “Open Letter” exactly what I tell the people who complain to me on a continual basis: “STOP BLAMING THE COMMISSIONERS.”

They have only been responsible for the Town since January 2015 (six months) and are doing the very best that they can. None of them had ever been responsible for a town the size of Pahrump before and they are proceeding by “trial and error.” If you want someone to blame, then blame the people who caused the problem in the first place.

So, who caused the problem? It certainly wasn’t the five commissioners even though it was advocated by Dan Schinhofen to allow the BoCC to replace the Town Board (YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT). And, it was Butch Borasky who asked that the item be placed on the ballot. But still, they didn’t MAKE it happen. It was the 50.8 percent of the Pahrump voters who FORCED the commissioners to take on Town responsibilities that they weren’t (and apparently still aren’t) prepared to handle. Of course, the 49.2 percent of us who voted to retain your local government can’t sit back and say “we told you so” because this is still OUR Town and we (collectively) need to help the BoCC in the Town’s operation or find a way to ease the burden that the 50.8 percent placed on them.

To remind everyone of the 2012 General Election results, there were 14,357 total voters for the Town of Pahrump of which 7,294 (50.8 percent ) of you voted to terminate your “local” voice in favor of the “county” voice. The other 7,063 (49.2 percent) voted to retain the “local” voice, a difference of only 231 votes. Remember that it took only 50 percent plus ONE vote to place the Town of Pahrump where we find ourselves today. So, as I stated, STOP blaming our commissioners when 50.8 percent of the voters forced them to implement the consequences according to NRS 269.022 that states; “…and the government of the town and all of its assets and liabilities shall revert to the board of county commissioners.”

There are several options being discussed around town to include 1) Reorganization of Nye County, 2) Moving the county seat to Pahrump, 3) Reinstatement of the ‘elected’ Town Board, 4) Several other ideas being tossed around and discussed at several meetings up to and including incorporation. Or, we can just leave it as it is and “hope for the best.”

Which option is best? The easiest is NOT always the best and the BEST is not always the easiest. Blaming the commissioners might be the easiest. However, those same people would blame the sheriff, the DMV, the DA, the county manager, or the guy cleaning the swimming pool. They (the 50.8 percent) may want to blame anyone except themselves for causing more damage to our Town governance than the ‘assumed’ benefits that they promised themselves would occur. Unfortunately, according to the many unhappy voices, those benefits haven’t materialized.

My initial recommendation would be for the citizens of Pahrump to request that the BoCC place the question on the ballot again in 2016. A vote by the people would either validate that the 50.8 percent was correct or return the local town government to the local people. However, please know that even if 95 percent of the people voted to reinstate your local government, there are still problems ahead and I’ll discuss those issues in a future Open Letter.

Dr. Tom Waters

Pahrump Town Board (2011-14)

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