Commissioners briefed on wells, water quality

A regional assessment shows groundwater quality in the Great Basin and Range, Rio Grande, Coastal Basins and Central Valley Aquifer Systems of the Southwestern United States.

A regional assessment shows groundwater quality in the Great Basin and Range, Rio Grande, Coastal Basins and Central Valley Aquifer Systems of the Southwestern United States.

Churchill County Commissioners heard a presentation on the ongoing water level and water quality monitoring projects in the Lahontan Valley at Thursday’s first meeting of the month.

David Smith, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Chris Mahannah, an engineer with Mahannah and Associates, discussed the cooperation among the county, the Carson Water Subconservancy District and Naval Air Station Fallon.

“We currently have 1,800 wells in the database,” Smith said, adding the estimated number of shallow wells is about 5,000.

Smith said the groundwater level dropped between 2014-2017 but due to the runoff from the storms last year, the level rose 4 feet. The agencies will be monitoring area wells for arsenic levels.

According to an information sheet from the USGS, the valley’s aquifers consist of four classifications: shallow (0-50 feet deep), intermediate (50-500/1,000 feet), deep (greater than 500-1,000 feet and consists of saline and is considered as nonpotable) and basalt. The USGS said the city, NAS Fallon and the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe have wells in the basalt aquifer.

“The state engineer requires any new permitted wells be completed in the intermediate aquifer and sealed in the top 100 feet,” stated the USGS report.

Smith said the USGS provides quarterly reports to the county to update commissioners on the status of the wells.

Commissioners also approved County Manager Eleanor Lockwood to submit a request for a funding application with the CWSD to continue the Lahontan Valley Water Level Measurement Program and to approve support of the U.S. Geological Survey’s application to the CWSD for the continuation of the cooperative water level and water quality monitoring program in the county’s portion Newland’s Project. The recommended action covers a four-year period.

In other agenda items ...

Upgraded a half-time custodian to full time for Fiscal Year 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The current position requires 19 hours and no benefits. Facilities, Parks and Recreation Director Jorge Guerrero said the part-time position presents scheduling problems in janitorial duties for the new law enforcement facility. The county is also having problems retaining employees in the part-time position because of hours and no benefits.

The additional cost in salary and benefits is $32,294. Guerrero said the position is currently open.

Approved grade increase from Grade 26 to 27 for the position of maintenance aide and changed the title to maintenance aide from seasonal position. The change in grade will result in $12.05 an hour.

Guerrero said the intent is to recruit and retain employees.

Approved correction of an overassessment of deferred taxes for Assessor’s parcel number 007-931-08 and approved a refund for $2,292.96 in accordance to Nevada Revised Statutes.

The parcel is across the highway from Harmon Junction.

Approved a grant award of $121,422 for the state’s Office of the Attorney General for the Elderly Differential Response Program.

The grant looks at elderly case management and helps them maintain independence. Churchill County is one of three counties to pilot the program to support elderly people 50 years and older who have been victims of abuse. The other two counties are Clark and Washoe.

Social Service Director and Public Guardian Shannon Ernst said the county is working on a Mutual of Understanding and also looking at how to identify elderly people with needs. She said Churchill County is reaching out to the state’s Office of the Attorney General and is currently working with local agencies.

Commissioner Bus Scharmann said people in Churchill County will benefit from the grant.

“This program is for keeping our seniors safe,” he said.

Approved $350 per user of eLogic database contract for $1,750 FY 2018 to support Social Services community action funds.

This is a mandated program for Social Services.

Approved $3,000 for FY 2018 for community support funding for the Churchill Arts Council. The amount is on top of $2,000 that commissioners have approved for CAC. The commissioners will also set up a review of community support funding for all organizations that request financial assistance.

County Manager Eleanor Lockwood said the county will look at how money is spent by all groups receiving funds on an annual basis.

Valerie Serpa, executive director of the Churchill Arts Council, had asked for $10,000 for the CAC season that runs from August 2017-July 2018 to support performances and activities for the 2018-19 season.

Commission Chairman Pete Olsen called the Churchill Arts Council an “unbelievable jewel for our community.”

Proclaimed Nevada Bighorn Sheep Week Feb. 11-17.

Approved first reading of Bill 2018-A, Ordinance 73 to amend the number of individuals on the Churchill County Parks and Recreation Commission from nine to seven members.

Approved a bid of $145,000 for the Wild Goose property to Jason Storm.

Received no bids for the parcels located at 2180 Testolin Road. The commissioners will look at a realtor listing the property at the appraised value of $240,000.


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