Supreme Court upholds Pahrump vote

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LAS VEGAS — Pahrump’s town board will soon be a thing of the past after it lost an appeal over a 2012 ballot measure.

The Nevada Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday saying the Nye County Commission was within its rights when it put up a ballot measure to dissolve the board. The measure, introduced amid complaints that the board was unresponsive to citizens, passed narrowly in a vote of 7,294 to 7,063.

“I’m happy but not surprised,” Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen said Friday about the court’s ruling. Town board members had raised property taxes twice and were “spending money like it’s out of control,” he added.

The board oversees parks, ambulances, a fire department and a cemetery in Pahrump, a city of 36,000 about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. It will lapse at the end of the year.

Nye County commissioners will then have authority over the Pahrump’s major financial decisions, although they can decide to install an advisory board for the town.

Fifth District Judge Robert Lane allowed the ballot measure to move forward, but Pahrump appealed. The board argued the County Commission should have formally determined the board wasn’t serving the public’s best interest before pushing the measure.

Justices wrote that state law on the matter was ambiguous. But they ultimately decided the statute “only requires a board of county commissioners to base its decision on the best interests of the town and does not require a board of county commissioners to expressly or formally state its rationale.”

Pahrump Town Board Chairman Harley Kulkin expressed disappointment over the ruling. He said the opposition to the board came from “self-serving interests” who fail to invest in the town and block economic development in favor of low taxes.

“Instead of being one that likes to go forward, Pahrump is a community that likes to go backward,” he said.


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