Nevada Legislature: Bill would let Ely voters decide whether to be a city or not
The Senate Government Affairs Committee was urged on Friday to let the citizens of Ely decide whether they want to be a city or not. Ely has been a city for 100 years but White Pine County Commissioner Richard Howe said with a total population of just more than 10,000, the city and county simply aren’t big enough to justify two local governments.
Howe said the entire population of White Pine County could fit inside Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
“The courthouse is in Ely and six blocks away is a city government,” Howe said.
Howe said administrative costs would be reduced by disincorporating Ely, making it a town instead of a city much like McGill, Ruth, Lund and Baker.
He and Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, sponsor of SB238, said the bill doesn’t take away Ely’s status as a city, that it just puts the issue on the city’s June 2 ballot for residents to decide. Howe said since those residents voted in 2010 to disincorporate, he expected they would do so again.
“We’re just too small of a town,” Howe said.
The action isn’t without precedent. Gabbs in Nye County was turned back into a “town” some 15 years ago.
The committee took no action on the measure.