Agendas & Minutes

June 10, 2005

FRIDAY – 10:00 A.M.
JUNE 10, 2005



There is no agenda posted for this meeting.



PRESENT:                        ABSENT:
Richard Billman                    Ed Bishop
Laurayne Murray    
Paul Willis
Ron Johnson


Chairman Richard Billman called the meeting to order and led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mr. Billman welcomed all those in attendance.

Chairman Billman:  Thank you all for coming.  This room is a little small; we will try and get out of here as quickly as we can.  Are there any announcements?  



Chairman Billman:  Action may not be taken on matters considered during this period until specifically included on an agenda as an action item.  Is there any public comment?  Item #4 discussion, action and decision regarding declaration of a state of emergency due to the extreme high risk level of brush wild fires.  Chief if we could just get you to go over your memorandum.    


Scott Lewis:  Briefly going over the memorandum that was a part of your back up material is that we have had a lot of precipitation this past year as a result we’ve had an abundance of weed growth throughout the Valley, and I think one of our biggest challenges, aside from just weed growth is the wild land urban interface issues that we are experiencing.  In talking to the Hot Shot crews that have come in and assisted us recently, they have all indicated and verbalized that the number of structures, automobiles, dwellings, businesses within the growth areas is something that they haven’t seen in a very long time, which also creates our challenges.  If we were to deal strictly with grass fires and brush fires there relatively manageable especially with the resources of US forestry and other mutual aide agencies.  Our challenges have been, when
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you experience a fast moving grass fire, brush fire it’s also encountering structures very early in the game.  Now when I stay structures I don’t necessarily mean dwellings it could be out buildings, pump houses, things like that.  That creates our challenges, because US Forestry cannot actually engage in a suppression of those type of fires.  So we are having to have again an interface between structural units and wild land at simultaneously.  We have had a number of issues regarding access, reporting.  We have had great successes in acquiring external contractors to come in and assist us.  With that though there has been an accountably issue, that we are addressing.  As you know within the last 30 days we’ve experienced approximately 70 fires, we have had several fires since I authored this memorandum.  We have had approximately 70 brush fires in the Town.  Acreage wise we are around a hundred acres.  Which by any means isn’t a large incident acreage wise, however we lost approximately 15 structures, a number of automobiles, much like I described earlier.  The other issue is we are around 1.17 million dollars in losses with in the last 30 days due to these type of fires.  Again I think that when we take everything into consideration, we had a number of plans that we are trying to implement, it has calmed down this past week the temperatures had dropped, but the potential remains, and we need to come up with the means of mitigating this, the weed growth, protecting our exposures and I think it is a huge issue with public education, continuing our mutual aide agreements, and coming up with the appropriate plans to ensure that those that come out and help us have the necessary communications to assist us in achieving our overall goals.  

Chairman Billman:  Thank you Chief.

Scott Lewis:  If I may Mr. Billman just to enforce some of the issues that we have addressed and we vigorously been enforcing PTO 45, which is the weed abatement issue.  We have also vigorously have enforced PTO # 28, which is the open burn ordinance and we are issuing citations, we are on a no tolerance policy.  We are doing roaming patrols in the evening hours, we are responding to all, any and all calls.  We have a process in place where citizens can contact us and report those properties that have an overabundance of weed growth and we are sending people out investigate those.  As of yesterday Jack Jenkins a senior volunteer of ours had done 26 of them in one day, actually a day and a half.  They are downloaded on to our computer so we are monitoring and we’re sending letters out for those property owners, we are using the tax office from Nye County to determine ownership of some of these properties.  So we are doing a lot of different things.

Chairman Billman:  Are we citing the people who are involved in open burns, illegal open burns?

Scott Lewis:  Yes sir we are issuing citations.  The Fire Department is issuing the citations and in some cases where we need additional assistance we are also calling on the Nye County Sheriff’s Department, and they have been most helpful in these cases, so with all things considered I think a declaration of emergency for the mitigation of the weeds and the fuels throughout the Valley would be in order.  

Pahrump Town Board Meeting
June 10, 2005

Chairman Billman:  Thank you.  Any discussion from the Board?

Paul Willis:  I would like to make a motion Mr. Chairman.  I would like to motion, make a motion to approve emergency management executive order #1 and approve the emergency declaration.

Chairman Billman:  Is there a second for that?

Ron Johnson:  I will second that.

Chairman Billman:  Moved and seconded, does everybody have a copy of the….

Laurayne Murray:  They are on the back table.

Chairman Billman:  Chief could you, just so everybody understands what it is that we are actually voting on, would you care to just go over the high points so that everybody doesn’t have to sit down and read this.

Dave Richards:  Did you want something read?

Chairman Billman:  No I didn’t want it read, I just felt we would touch over the high points and I thought you know…

Laurayne Murray:  There are two separate and distinct items one is an executive department emergency declaration and the declaration establishes that an emergency situation has occurred or is occurring within the confines of Pahrump and that it identifies that all available resources to mitigate the emergency have overcome the enormity or potential enormity of emergency and we are requesting the Board of County Commissioners to support an emergency fire or other support from State Nevada Emergency Management Division.  So it’s a request to the commissioners to give us support based on this declaration.  It also identifies that we’re requesting mitigation support for potential wild fire emergencies and that the immediate area, the Fire Rescue, Medical and other emergency support as deemed necessary in the event of an actual occurrence.  

Chairman Billman:  Okay, thank you.

Laurayne Murray:  The other item, the second items is an Executive Department Emergency Management order, which establishes that the Town of Pahrump has an emergency, comprehensive emergency management plan and that the emergency management plan is at the Town Office and that it will be activated in the state of an emergency is declared, which the first item would do, by the direction of the designated Town Board Member which would be Mr. Billman or representative and that the functions are to prepare and disseminate information and instructions to fulfill the responsibilities of any agency or designated by the Town of Pahrump Comprehensive Emergency Plan to protect the personnel, equipment, vital records and supplies
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of the Town against natural or man made disasters in a continuation of normal services that would be needed incase of an emergency situation.

Chairman Billman:  Okay, thank you.  So that essentially is what we are doing here this morning.  Are there any questions or comments from the audience?  

Sally Devlin:  My name is Sally Devlin and I have been here a lot of years, and my only question on this, and I am fully in favor, he knows I support him is every way shape and size,  What is deleted and that is right away.  I don’t think the idiots, as Doug McMurdo calls us Pahrumpians understand right away, and I do feel this should be on this and that emergency vehicles of all types, shapes, and sizes have priority on the roads and what the public should do.  And you do not approach this at all, and what I have found out is people don’t know what to do when they see an emergency vehicle.  They will not let them through, they will not this, they don’t understand right away, and I think that should be in there or some kind of addition to it.  We want to protect our Firemen and Policemen.

Chairman Billman:  I certainly agree that we sometimes have a problem here with right away problems.  It’s a state law and as far as I know it’s in all 50 states.  It’s not something that Nevada dreamed up.  I don’t really think so much it’s people don’t know as people just don’t.  So, I mean you put your own life at risk when you don’t pull over and some day you might be in that ambulance that’s trying to get around and needs to get to a hospital.  Who knows I might be in there and I would appreciate it if you would pull over so I can get through.  It’s a courtesy thing and it’s also a legal thing.  Thank you.

Tim Gold:  Tim Gold, I just have a couple questions I guess and maybe some concerns.  The Emergency Management Executive Order #1 has a declaration under section 2; The Town of Pahrump Comprehensive Emergency Plan will be activated.  Has that plan been adopted by the Town Board?  Is there any plan that has actually physically been adopted by The Town Board yet for that, for this purpose?  

Chairman Billman:  For this purpose,

Tim Gold:  Yeah for anything, for any major incident or emergency has there been a formal adoption of any plan?

Chairman Billman:  The emergency plan we have not adopted that yet, the comprehensive plan.

Tim Gold:  I guess my question would be, how do you include a plan that doesn’t exist in an emergency executive order that seems to make no sense to me.

Chairman Billman:  Mr. Richards.

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June 10, 2005

Dave Richards:  I would recommend that the Town Board consider adoption of the Emergency Management Plan and it’s, certainly shouldn’t stand in the way of having the emergency declared.  

Chairman Billman:  Right, I would agree.

Paul Willis:  And if I might I think that we’ve accepted, as a board accepted the Emergency Management Comprehensive plan.  We accepted it, we did not approve it, and my recommendation at that time is that we do approve it.  

Chairman Billman:  We would need to agendize that for the meeting of the 28th.

Laurayne Murray:  Actually we have never been presented with a comprehensive emergency management plan.  We have what was presented to us, which is a rough draft, which is incomplete and we have received no training on or anything of that nature.  According to the documentation from the advisory board it’s only about 80% complete and so I’m not comfortable even saying at this point time that we should take on something that number one we haven’t seen.  I don’t want to say lets adopt this and we haven’t even had a chance to go through it.  Number two that it’s not complete and number three that making the executive order based on the possibility of taking an action sometime in the future, doesn’t prohibit us from doing the emergency declaration today.  I think the emergency declaration can still take place, but to implement a plan that is not complete and hasn’t been approved and it’s just you know a rough draft.

Ron Johnson:  Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Billman:  Yes Mr. Johnson

Ron Johnson:  Ron Johnson here, you know looking at the spirit and intent of this thing we certainly do need to get this thing on the books.  The facts are we have, we are experiencing a clear emergency in our region right at this moment.  If you and I, all of us just step outside and look around, we don’t even have to leave this area, we can recognize that we have a situation that needs to be dealt with immediately.  I certainly want to recommend that we are able to make this declaration under this executive order so that some activity can occur quickly.  Let me give you an example, if we are sitting here tomorrow and we have a weather system coming through where you have dry lightening strikes, no water with it you could light this whole Town on fire, and having spent a lifetime in the business I just want to suggest that we’ve got something that all of us, certainly not just the government, but all of us need to begin to pay attention with something that is a significant emergency.  You know a lot of changes are going on with some of these materials that we are talking about today because of Home Land Security and some other things, sort of new inclusions into some of our material, but, so whatever we do I want to suggest that we take care of the business at hand at least on this.  Thank you.

Pahrump Town Board Meeting
June 10, 2005

Chairman Billman:  Thank you.

Paul Willis:  I would like to make one comment also, that we’ve had the Emergency Management Comprehensive Plan for months and the reason it’s only 80% done is because they were waiting for input from this Board, which has not be forth coming.  And so I would just say, not to delay this but also to get her done on the Emergency Comprehensive Plan instead of using it as an excuse.  

Laurayne Murray:  Mr. Chairman that, Paul brings up a very good point because it was presented to us back in February.  I in fact did give them feedback and attend their meeting and ask them questions.  I think the plan is going in the right direction.  I support their work, I want to see it continue also but exactly the issue that you brought up is that they have received no feedback from the Board.  I would say that probably we don’t even have an understanding up here on what we are voting on.  We haven’t read the material extensively, we haven’t understood it, we haven’t given comment into the development of it, there has been no direction from the Board, and yet if you look at the plan it puts the Town Board in charge of this emergency.  I agree with Mr. Johnson we do need to declare an emergency in order to get the County to make, take the steps that they need to take to start addressing all the issues that Mr. Johnson brought up and the Chief brought up and that we are all aware of, as the County needs to start being able to do something to get us some funding to get us some clothing for the Fire Fighters and radios to communicate with people and so on.  I have no problem with going forward with that at all.  The issue what I have is with a separate, I would like to see the motion made to do the emergency declaration and I would prefer to table the Emergency Management Executive Order until we actually have a plan that doesn’t add more confusion on top of a situation that is already confusing.  This Executive Order puts the Emergency Management Homeland Security Advisory Board in charge of implementing the plan.  I’d rather see it stay with Brent Jones and the Fire Chief and the people who are experienced and know what they are doing.  I definitely support taking those two separate items and voting on them.  

Chairman Billman:  Mr. Willis any problem with altering your motion to simply to, and then we can work on the Emergency Plan.

Paul Willis:  Adopt just to declare the emergency declaration.  

Chairman Billman:  Yes.

Laurayne Murray:  And request the support of the County.

Paul Willis:  Okay I will amend my motion to just reflected it adopts the Emergency Declaration.

Pahrump Town Board Meeting
June 10, 2005

Ron Johnson:  Question Mr. Chairman, to Scott I guess are all of our mutual and automatic aide agreements current, and what are they, I don’t know that you want to list then, not at the moment but I think that’s imperative that we know that.
Pahrump Town Board Meeting
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Scott Lewis:  Yes Sir the ones that pertain to this particular issue are current.

Chairman Billman:  Are you re-seconding the motion Mr. Johnson, are you going to re-second Mr. Willis…..

Ron Johnson:  I will be happy to do that, I’ll second the motion.

Chairman Billman:  It’s moved and seconded.  Any further discussion?

Tim Gold:  There is no question, and don’t get me wrong, there’s not question that there is a need to control the weed growth here in the town, my question is to the effect of is it necessary to declare an emergency situation at all.  I mean ultimately we’ve know this for months.  This isn’t something new, the weeds didn’t sprout up over the last two months and if my memory serves me correctly two months ago or there about there’s a big Pahrump Valley Times article about there’s not a crisis in Pahrump and that was from an interview with Mr. Richards.  There is obviously an issue at hand and needs to be taken, steps have to be taken to mitigate the problems, I just don’t see there’s a necessarily a need to declare an emergency on the part of the Town.  You can always request the County Commissioners to assist and let the County Commissioners declare an emergency for the county if that’s what they so chose.  I just don’t believe that it is necessarily an issue that has to be taken by the Town.  

Chairman Billman:  Okay thank you.  Usually things become an emergency when the fire is 12 feet away from your house.  Then its…

Tim Gold:  That is absolutely true, and I don’t know of any fires 12 feet away from any houses at the current time Sir.

Chairman Billman:  At this moment no.  

Ron Johnson:  Could I respond Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Billman:  Yes Mr. Johnson.

Ron Johnson:  I appreciate Mr. Gold’s comments, but I think it’s important that we as a population of people recognize number one, that we do have an emergency.  I must also say that I’m not sure that the, let me just say the Newspapers necessarily, you know the last word on the issue.  We obviously have a serious emergency.  Some of us in this room as we sit here, if we
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think about the property we own probably don’t have the appropriate defensible space around our homes right now and so the destruction of additional property and the threat to lives just isn’t acceptable.  I would only stay that the Emergency Declaration simply puts a stamp on what is a serious emergency, forces us to go into action and very possibly allows us to gain some support money and I’m saying possibly that we need in order to complete the mission if you will.  So,

Pahrump Town Board Meeting
June 10, 2005

and I’m not trying to argue with Mr. Gold on that, but I just think its important once and a while that when we have a real emergency that we recognize it, and that’s my point, so I thank you.

Chairman Billman:  Thank you Mr. Johnson.  Further comment.

Keith Young:  My name is Keith Young.  I wonder about what direction this whole meeting would take if we were standing up wind from a little grass fire that got going.  But anyway to clarify a couple of things for myself the term emergencies or the acceptance of emergencies, or declaration of emergencies triggers legal processes that go on and by necessity they have to have the word emergency to proceed, correct?  A lot of times the word, declaration of emergency will free up monies or other assistance from other counties State level, Federal level.  Is that correct?

Chairman Billman:  Yes that is correct.

Keith Young:  My opinion, there definitely needs to be an adoption of an emergency declaration.

Chairman Billman:  Thank you. Any further comment?  

Jane Schmidt:  My name is Jane Schmidt I live on North Linda last Sunday the acre next to me caught fire because I hit a rock with lawnmower.  It scared the living @!#* out of me because my house was about 12 feet away from it.  I don’t think it is some much the people sitting here in this room who, concerned about the emergency.  It’s the people who own the property who don’t live here, aren’t here when they bought their property it was a dirt pond.  They can’t imagine that there is three feet of explosive fire stuff on there property and it has to be removed and we can’t wait around while they get letters, ignore them and not do anything about them.  That’s where the true emergency lies and I’ve got 5 of those acres on the side of my house.  

Chairman Billman:  Thank you.  
Ron Johnson:  Mr. Chairman can I just make a point?  Only because I’m prepared I want to share some things with some of the folks that are here that might be helpful.  Just to give you kind of a clue, there is materials much like I am holding in my hand that can be very helpful to you, relative to what you can do on your property, I can share these sources with you if you’d like and I am sure that the Fire Department can do the same, but this is just something available locally.  I
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was doing a little research and they mailed this to me even.  Some more materials, these provide photographs, pictures, measurements, strategies, you know, I mean we are all involved in this.  This isn’t something that one stands by as says lets watch what they do because the definition of the term they is all of us collectively.  I have a home too, and I have the same responsibility that I am talking about.  I also what to share one other thing with you an awful lot of Fire Fighters are killed and others on just one acre lots, sometimes there’s the notion that you have to be, you have to have an entire mountain burning before you are going to hurt or kill people.  Not true it happens on small parcels and I also just want to reiterate one other thing, this situation we are living in here really is kind of unique out here in the West, I mean we have material up around
Pahrump Town Board Meeting
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structures here way more than almost any place that I can possible think about at this time.  And I am talking about the height of the fuel; I’m talking about the density and the continuity of the fuel and other materials that burn.  I’ve taken photographs just recently driving around depicting lots of structures with material not only up against it but growing in the windows which are not boarded up and so forth.  Now what does that do, it puts our own people at risk having to try to, you know deal with fire fighting situation in those cases.  We have a big situation so, I’ll be quiet now.  We need to know this stuff.

Vickie Parker:  Vickie Parker and I have one final comment, this doesn’t appear on it’s face to address all of the idiots who feel compelled to throw lit cigarettes out the window and I saw that on the way over here today.  You’ve got weeds all they way up to the sides of the road and the right away and I think that the lit cigarette issue needs to be addressed and that’s all so.

Chairman Billman:  Thank you, we need to close public comment now.  I am going to call for the vote all those in favor of the motion please signify by saying…

Laurayne Murray:  Can you restate the motion please.

Chairman Billman:  Can you restate the motion.  Thank you.  All those in favor of the motion please signify by saying aye.  Any opposed?  NO.  Motion carries.  The meeting is adjourned.  The County Commission will of course be meeting now.                


Richard Billman adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurayne Murray, Clerk

Pahrump Town Board Meeting
June 10, 2005

cc:    Town Clerk                            
    Cristina Hinds
Nye County Treasurer                        
Dan McArthur                
Town Board                    
    Nye County Planning            
    Nye County Commissioners            
            Nye County Clerk




There is no backup posted for this meeting.