Agendas & Minutes


June 14, 2004

BOB RUUD COMMUNITY CENTER
150 NORTH HIGHWAY 160
MONDAY – 4:00 P.M.
JUNE 14, 2004

 


Agenda

NOTE:    There may be a quorum of Nye County Commissioners and/or Advisory Board members present at this meeting.



1.    Call to order.

2.    Public comment.

3.    Discussion, action and possible decision regarding alternative solutions for the projected deficit in the ambulance fund.  Possible actions include, but are not limited to the following:

A.    Place a question on the ballot to create a fire district and associated tax.
B.    Ask the County to take back the service.
C.    Eliminate the provisions of the service.
D.    Cut the number of employees due to a lack of funding.
E.    Take no action

4.    Adjournment.



POSTED IN THE PAHRUMP TOWN OFFICE, COMMUNITY CENTER, COUNTY COMPLEX, FLOYD’S ACE HARDWARE, AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

SPECIAL NOTE:    Any member of the public who is disabled and requires accommodations or assistance at this meeting is requested to notify the Pahrump Town Office in writing, or call 775-727-5107 prior to the meeting.  Assisted listening devices are available at Town Board meetings upon request.

 


Minutes

PRESENT:
Paula Glidden
Richard Billman
Charlotte LeVar
Jeanna Howard
Ed Bishop
Cristina Hinds, Attorney

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Paula Glidden called the meeting to order and led in the pledge of allegiance.  Ms. Glidden thanked all for their presence and participation at this meeting.  

Ms. Glidden explained that Public Comment will be limited to items not on the agenda and will not be acted upon.  Paula Glidden announced that the meeting rules would be that persons may speak and the limit would be two minutes at the podium and asked that people do not repeat statements or comments.  

PUBLIC COMMENT

Monna Miller requested that this meeting be dismissed based on the fact a committee was proposed at the last Town Board meeting.  Ms. Miller asked if the committee has met yet.

Paula Glidden responded that the Board did take action on forming a committee and are presently accepting letters which will end June 18.  The committee has not yet met.  Ms. Glidden explained that this meeting was called based on a Commissioners agenda item.  It was felt that the Board should discuss this matter first.  

Monna Miller asked if a decision could be made on the item even though the committee has not met yet.  Ms. Glidden noted that the following agenda item is a Discussion, action and decision item and would like input to pass on to the County Commissioners otherwise the Town has no say in what the County does with the service.  Ms. Miller asked if the Board new, at the time of appointing a committee for advisory, that the Board would need the information for this meeting.  Paula Glidden replied no.

Richard Billman commented that the committee can still function regardless of the outcome of this meeting.  Ms. Miller asked what the purpose would be if decisions are made today.  

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Paula Glidden stated that the meeting will move forward and appreciated the comments.

George Gingell commented that he has searched for the advertisement requesting people to submit letters and could not find an ad.  Mr. Gingell asked if the people will be picked from letters sent to the Town.

Dave Richards explained that it was anticipated that an ad would be in the Wednesday paper.  When checking, none was found and staff is checking.  There was some confusion as to the deadline for the newspaper and the deadline for the letters.  

Stanley Forrester commented that he was fed up with the people in the Town shoving things down the throat of the people.  Mr. Forrester said meetings are never conducted correctly and that includes the City Council.  Stanley Forrester asked if any member of the City Council own stock in the company from Las Vegas that is being pushed down the public’s throats.  

Paul Willis commented that he wished there was as much participation at all the Town Board meetings as there is today.  Mr. Willis addressed the scare tactics that are in the propaganda being handed out.  Paul Willis noted that the handouts are not even signed.  

Paula Glidden stated that there were two workshops held on this issue and did not see a turnout like there is for this meeting.  

Candice Trummell commented that as Pahrump Town Pool Manager she would like to note that in less than a week of being open there has been two active drowning victim rescues of nine year old children dropped who were dropped off without parents.  Ms. Trummell said she has spoken with Dave Richards and have discussed changing the Pool Policy.  Candice Trummell announced that if you have children or grandchildren that cannot swim, please do not drop them off at the pool without supervision.  

Dr. Tannoury began speaking on the agenda item and commented that he and his associates are disturbed that a medical decision would be made with input from the medical profession.   

Paula Glidden explained that this was general public comment and the Dr. Tannoury would be able to speak when the item is brought forward.

Jerry Wong commented that the meeting must take place or the Town Board would be against parliamentary procedure.  

Bob Smith commented about the raises during the past two years and how are they being justified.  


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Roberta Ohlinger, Nye Communities Coalition, commented that the marijuana petition is out in force within the community.  Ms. Ohlinger asked that all people read things before they sign and to know what they are signing.  

DISCUSSION, ACTION AND POSSIBLE DECISION REGARDING ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE PROJECTED DEFICIT IN THE AMBULANCE FUND.  POSSIBLE ACTIONS INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:

A.    Place a question on the ballot to create a fire district and associated tax.
B.    Ask the county to take back the service.
C.    Eliminate the provisions of the service.
D.    Cut the number of employees due to a lack of funding.
E.    Take no action.


Richard Billman Motioned that the Pahrump Town Board request of the Nye County Board of County Commissioners an annual subsidy for the ambulance enterprise in the amount of $400,000 and that in the alternative the Board of County Commissioners assume the care and control of ambulance enterprise.  If the Board of County Commissioners selects neither of these options, then the Town Board of Pahrump will cease operation of the ambulance enterprise on September 1, 2004.  Charlotte LeVar seconded the motion.

Richard Billman explained that he had previously placed an agenda item that requested a $400,000 grant one time.  Unfortunately, this is not something that is going away and have been going deeper into the red each year, Mr. Billman said.  Richard Billman stated that if the Town is to continue with this enterprise, it will be necessary to obtain funding from the County.  Mr. Billman said if the County Commissioners do not wish to do this, the County needs to take back the ambulance enterprise and run it themselves.  If the County selects to do nothing, Mr. Billman stated that he is proposing that on September 1, 2004 we cease operation.  

Ed Bishop addressed a question to Commissioner Henry Neth.  Mr. Bishop stated that at the last Town Board meeting that Mr. Neth mentioned the possibility of creating a tax district to help fund Pahrump Valley Fire-Rescue Service (PVFRS).  Ed Bishop asked Mr. Neth if he knew how much money that might generate in a year.

Commissioner Henry Neth stated that currently the 12.76 cents that is being used to fund a defunct Pahrump Hospital District is generating $832,021 per year.  With the cap on the hospital district it will continue to raise an average of approximately seven to eight percent per year.  Mr. Neth noted that his thought process was that there is approximately $850,000 owed to Nye County and approximately $750,000 still owed on the hospital bond.  In order for the Town of Pahrump to make it whole as it pertains to an emergency services district, it would be to take the money from the defunct hospital district and roll it over into an emergency services district.  
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There is twelve cents there and would not raise taxes for the citizens and they would be getting a service that benefits them as opposed to an empty building.

Ed Bishop noted that would be assuming that the County paid off the current hospital debt in its entirety.  Mr. Neth confirmed that.  Henry Neth stated that if the Town can come up with a plan that works that would generate revenue, Mr. Neth said he would personally consider as one Commissioner, a low interest to the Town until such a time the district could be set up and funded through the tax revenue.  Mr. Neth said that obviously, with $800,000 plus per year there will be enough money to run the service and pay back the loan.  

Jeanna Howard thanked Commissioner Neth for his pro active sense in the community.  Ms. Howard explained that the logistics would have to be looked into, if the constituents wanted to move in this direction.   Jeanna Howard asked if it was a consideration by the Commission to the availability of the resource of the 1.5% related to the funding to an unincorporated town for emergency services solely and is not a fire district.  

Commissioner Neth replied that the problem with the 1.5% is that it will only generate $75,000 to $100,000 per year.  That would be a maximum.  Mr. Neth said what he is asking for is that the citizens make themselves whole with no impact for themselves.  Henry Neth noted that the ballot question would have to ask if people want to retire the hospital debt and explained that his is only one Commissioner and there are four others that would be included in the decision.  

Dave Richards said his understanding of the hospital tax and the tax that would be levied for emergency services is not as simple as requesting the County Commissioners to provide the Town with that money, but requires a vote.   Mr. Richards asked that Commissioner Neth explain the process.  

Henry Neth explained that the Town Board can request that the Board of County Commissioners form an emergency services district.  That can be done by a majority vote of the Commissioners.  However, the County cannot fund that district without a vote of the taxpayers and would have to be a ballot question.  Mr. Neth explained that the ballot question would have to state “would you the taxpayer vote to retire the hospital district tax” with the second half of the question being “and to use that to fund the newly created emergency services district.”  Henry Neth said he is not sure exactly how it would be worded or how it would work.  It would definitely be up to a vote of the people.  If they did not vote to fund that district it would be back to square one.  

Paula Glidden asked how forgiving the hospital debt fund would affect the people.  Commissioner Neth explained that there are several different ways to work this.  Mr. Neth stated that there is 12.7 cents which could be restructured.  Henry Neth noted that the people may option to forgive the loans and not the bond.  Mr. Neth said the structure of the bond could be redone to designate 3 cents of the 12.7 cents to pay off the bond.  

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Richard Billman asked what the time frame would be for this particular option.  Mr. Neth replied that with a request from the Town Board and some cooperation from the District Attorney’s office, a fire district could be formed in a short period of time.  The deadline to get the ballot question on the ballot is July 19.  Henry Neth said that he has already talked to Ms. Merlino regarding a special election.  If unable to get it on the regular ballot Ms. Merlino would be willing to put together a special election for Pahrump to answer the questions.  

Richard Billman reminded the Commissioner about a ballot question previously regarding the hospital district to keep Pahrump Medical Center (PMC) open.  Mr. Billman noted that the question was defeated by 3-1 margin.  Mr. Neth stated that when the tax rate for PMC was put into place there was a cap that said the district revenues could not grow by any more than 7% per year.  Henry Neth said that PMC was set up to fail from the start.  Speaking personally, Mr. Neth stated that if they could have generated the revenue without the tax rate there would never have been an issue.  Commissioner Neth said there is still 12.76 cents of assessed value that is being used to fund the hospital district.  

Gerald Webb commented on the failure of PMC.  

George Gingell commented that Mr. Neth brought this up several weeks ago and has never seen it brought before the County Commissioners.

Monna Miller asked Commissioner Neth if there is any money spending from the Homeland Security coming to Nye County.  Ms. Miller asked if there are any of those funds being written for PVFRS.  Henry Neth replied that he was unsure but was aware of several grants being requested.  

Rick Marshall stated there is approximately $350,000 coming to Nye County.  There will be $80,000 for the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and approximately $264,000 for fire County wide.  The grant has been awarded pending approval by the Commissioners.  

Ms. Miller asked if there has been money secured for the purchase of a new ambulance through Senator Reid.  Henry Neth replied yes.  Monna Miller asked where the money is.  Mr. Neth replied that the federal appropriations machine is a ponderous and complicated machine.  It is in the process of coming to Nye County right now.  

Dr. Georges Tannoury commented that he found it strange that a medical question would be placed on an agenda without input from the medical providers.  Dr. Tannoury said there are things that are acceptable and things that are not acceptable.  Not acceptable is to let men and women go without any solution.  Dr. Tannoury said there are five ambulance crews serving Pahrump currently and asked how two ambulance crews can handle things better than our own ambulance personnel.  Dr. Tannoury explained that the doctors will be depending heavily on Mercy Air.  The answer is not to put more air demands on Mercy Air.  Dr. Tannoury had
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concerns whether ambulance crew from Las Vegas will be able to find addresses in Pahrump in the dark.  Dr. Tannoury asked if the medical people have to depend on American Medical Response (AMR) and AMR gets overwhelmed that they would send crews to Pahrump for one call when they can handle three or four called in Las Vegas in the same amount of time.  Dr. Tannoury said Pahrump will be treated by AMR as second to Las Vegas.  Dr. Tannoury said the people of Pahrump will not accept that.  

Paula Glidden said she hears the points being made but she has not seen the proposal from AMR.  It has not formally been presented.  

Charlotte LeVar asked Dr. Tannoury if he received a proposal from AMR.  Dr. Tannoury replied that he has some of the general terms.  Charlotte LeVar said she has not seen anything from AMR.  

Richard Billman said that no where on his agenda is AMR mentioned nor is there anything that would indicate any other ambulance service other than the County.  

Dr. Tannoury stated that there is a hope of a hospital in about a year and a half, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

Ed Bishop stated that the Doctor was 5 times over the time limit which the Chairman set at the onset of the meeting.  Paula Glidden said she would handle the meeting and there would be no exchange of minutes.  

Paula Glidden asked Mr. Billman if he wanted to take a five minute break to discuss something with the Attorney.  Richard Billman said he was just curious about keeping to the agenda item.  Mr. Billman said he has not read any contract with AMR.  Paula Glidden noted that the Board must follow what is on the agenda and feels there are other issues that should be brought our.  Ms. Glidden said the motion needs to be looked at and the public may speak on their opinions.  

Laurayne Murray commented that a motion was made by Mr. Billman.  The motion was to request money from the Nye County Commissioners, or if they refused, to have them take the service back, and if they refused that, to cease the service.  Ms. Murray noted that at the last Town Board meeting, Commissioner  Trummell stated that they had already prioritized their spending for this budget year and that funding for the PVFRS was in the “no way” category.   Laurayne Murray said to ask for money from the County is ludicrous.  If the County cannot give you money the alternative is to take back the service.  Ms. Murray stated that Ms. Trummell has already indicated she would prefer to take the service back and has indicated that she would like to privatize the service.  With that we already know what the outcome of the request would be a no.  Ms. Murray asked that before the Board make a decision on the motion before them that the Board should understand what the outcome from the Commissioners is going to be.  The back up material for the Commissioner’s agenda is available at the county office and the internet.  The
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material talks about the proposal from AMR and it is important for the Town Board to know what they will be giving the Town up to if you let the county take over the service.  Ms. Murray said she would like to talk about AMR and she feels it is appropriate for this agenda.  

Dan Weiman commented on the service he received from PVFRS.  

Margaret James commented that she is opposed to turning the department back to the County and said her mind is following the suggestion of Commissioner Neth.  

Maureen Budhal commented that there is misinformation that she has heard and is not intending to anything but provide some information or correct some information.  Ms. Budhal said she has seen the AMR proposal and does have a good understanding of where they are starting from.  On the issue of the fire tax district, Ms. Budhal said the people have to vote on it so it cannot just happen until the hospital debt is retired and the people vote.  Maureen Budhal asked for clarification regarding PVFRS staffing.  Ms. Budhal said the proposal from AMR does talk about two Advanced Life Support (ALS) crews, but it also says that they intend to cover the valley and have provisions as they do in Laughlin and Stateline who are currently serviced by AMR.  Maureen Budhal noted that the subsidy requested by AMR of $210,000, $60,000 of that is the brothel funds and the $150,000 subsidy is paying for a service and goes to pay the salaries of those people that come into the community.  Ms. Budhal said in reality it seems to her that it is part of the cost of doing business.  Ms. Budhal said that the facts can be skewed any way you want to, the bottom line is as residents of Pahrump we need to decide what we want to pay for.  The current service is one that we cannot afford at the current way we are going about it.  Maureen Budhal stated we are here to figure out the best possible way to fix the problem that provides appropriate service that does not bankrupt our town.  If we cannot pay for the services we have we have nothing.  Ms. Budhal concluded that the people be careful of the information given is being presented in a true and appropriate way.  Maureen Budhal said that to assume the County Commissioners will pull out and not provide the Town of Pahrump with any health and safety issues is absurd.  

Paula Glidden responded that she had read the proposal from AMR and noted that it has not been presented to the Town.  They have been asked several times to come forward.  Ms. Glidden stated that at the last Town Board meeting a committee was approved to look into the PVFRS.  This just took place on Tuesday, June 8.  Ms. Glidden said she heard about this meeting on Thursday morning and feels something went on before, during, and up to that moment.  Paula Glidden stated that in her opinion a little bit of that was a back door to the Town.  Ms. Glidden said the Town could have been asked and brought into the moment.  Paula Glidden said to her it was a problem and that remains with her today.  Ms. Glidden said she feels this meeting is premature.  The committee should be established to look into and bring objective eyes to the issue.  Ms. Glidden stated that the County will be judging the Town at their meeting tomorrow and the Town has no say without this meeting.  Paula Glidden said she hoped the County would get wind of the Town’s attitude and they understand that the Town is not going to lie down and
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walk away from a service it needs, whether it be today or in five years when this Town is growing at such a rapid rate.  

Richard Billman stated that we have had committees looking at this for years.  Mr. Billman said we have had an emergency services committee and committee after committee and we just do not need another committee to talk about the issue.  We need to do something.  I

Paula Glidden replied that it was a directive of the Town Board on Tuesday to form a committee and wanted to form it quickly to get some answers and get it back before the end of October or beginning of November.  Ms. Glidden said they have only that period of time to talk and discuss and make recommendations.  At that time, Ms. Glidden said, a vote could be done.  There are steps to the process.

Jeanna Howard noted that the Town of Pahrump was approached by AMR on February 11 asking to open formal dialogue.  Ms. Howard said the interesting point of this is they have attended two of the Town Board workshops and have given no input or engaging on any level of cooperation or dialogue at all.  Ms. Howard stated that that is a concern to her; if they want to talk about the issue fine.    Jeanna Howard stated that the Town Board has been criticized for the Pahrump Town Ordinance which requires that ambulances coming into the Town have communication with the Board so there is no conflict with an agency coming in with two ambulances and we shut down, or the County shuts down and we are left with just two.  Ms. Howard said she was disturbed by the fact that we have been criticized for the PTO, but they are asking for exclusive rights.  

Richard Billman stated that he criticized the Town Board for having PTO #41, not an ambulance service.  Mr. Billman said he believes that the Town cuts off one avenue and expect a private service to come in with an unfriendly ordinance.

Jeanna Howard concurred and stated that if they have come into this community, she wished they had come to the podium and talk to the Town Board.  

Paula Glidden stated that they could have contacted the Town at any given time.  Ms. Glidden said she has not heard from any of the outside entities.  This is the first she has seen of any proposal.  

Kristen Harrelson-Fisher stated that as a former employee of AMR she would like to correct some statements made by Ms. Budhal.  Mrs. Fisher said that having worked for AMR in Laughlin and Stateline, now Primm, AMR does have an ambulance there.  Kristen Fisher said that Laughlin has a hospital across the river within five minutes.  It is mandated that Clark County Fire Department provide an advanced level service that can transport in case they are not able to.  AMR also demands that the Fire Department is able to assure that if AMR cannot transport a patient, which they only transport one patient at a time that they can.  Mrs. Fisher
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noted that Primm is further from a hospital but still within ten to fifteen minutes to a hospital.  Kristen Fisher pointed out the Pahrump is quite different.  Mrs. Fisher stated that the people get to vote and voice their opinion and noted that AMR is out to make money.  

Tim Murray said he hoped that the people present at this meeting will be at the County Commissioners meeting tomorrow.  Mr. Murray noted that in the proposal there is mention of Town Board leadership and management wanting to make this happen by July 1.  Tim Murray said he felt it was clear to him that the Town Board was in this process with the County Commissioner.  

Paula Glidden pointed out that the proposal went to Commissioner Trummell and did not come to the Town.  Ms. Glidden noted that the Town Board did not vote on, nor did they have a day in it.  

Mr. Murray said he feels there is someone in management of the Town of Pahrump that has been involved in this.  

Jeanna Howard responded that it must be assumed that AMR is assuming, or someone is speaking the behalf of the Town Board, as there is no way that PVFRS is going anywhere July 1 no matter what the Town Board or County Commission does.  

Tim Murray said his main point is the concern of the Town maintaining control of the fire department versus the County.  Mr. Murray stated his fear is that the allocation of funds and resources will be diluted throughout the County if the service were to go to the County.  Pahrump needs to maintain control of it fire and rescue services.  

Richard Billman commented that none of this contemplates the fire department, only the ambulance service.  Mr. Billman noted that the County gave the Town an enterprise fund which should have been maintained separately.  

Mrs. Sergeant Alan Bigelow commented on how privatization will affect the jobless rate.  

Mr. Billman stated that a private company would hire from Pahrump.  Mrs. Bigelow explained that the Town has union employees and they cannot go to work for another company.  Richard Billman said the contract with AMR states that if the Town were to do away with the ambulance service they will do whatever they can and that it is contractual.  Mr. Billman noted that AMR is union also.  Mrs. Bigelow pointed out that they are two different unions.  Mrs. Bigelow asked if the Town Board would help the employees who lost their job, find new jobs.  Mr. Billman replied that we are under contract to do that, yes.  Mrs. Bigelow asked what kind of jobs those might be and would it be in the same line of work they are in now.  Richard Billman replied it would be an attempt to find them jobs.  

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Bobbi Ohlinger commented that she works everyday working with non profits and governmental agencies.  Ms. Ohlinger said she sees this clearly as a management issue.  Bobbi Ohlinger said she has read through the documents, including the Abaris Report, and she sees enormous potential for untapped funding.  Ms. Ohlinger suggested the Board give time for the committee to work and look at the untapped funding potentials.  Ms. Ohlinger said that the community must turn its support into cash if they want to keep the ambulance service as it is.  

John Ashcraft commented on his volunteerism for the Town and the Town put him into debt for $18,000.

George Gingell commented that the ambulance and fire department funds were commingled and asked which side is losing the money.  Things were going on before Dave Richards and before Chief Lewis.  

Tony DeMeo commented that he feels that Henry Neth came up with an excellent solution to the problem.  Mr. DeMeo said he is tired of paying money to a defunct hospital.  The solution would be to fast tract Henry Neth’s proposal so that in November there can be a viable solution to the problem. Mr. DeMeo said the Board needs to commit to the PVFRS or tell the public what the decision of the Board is now.  Tony DeMeo said he sees the dedication of this service on a daily basis.  Mr. DeMeo stated it is about time to stop looking at committees and start making decisions.  This is a decision that must be made because it is life or death.  

Paula Glidden noted that part of the committee effort was to see what the future will need.  We can get past today.  We need to know what we will need in the future.  

Charlotte LeVar added that as far as the Abaris Report was concerned, there were supposed to be an additional nine cross trained members.  That is $560,000 per year.  They do not want to use the stations we already have.  There is a Capital Improvement Plan.  Mrs. LeVar asked how many millions of dollars are being talked about.  We are not talking about the right now of the department.  We are talking about a projection.  

Van Dishong asked Mrs. LeVar what a life is worth.  Mrs. LeVar responded that she has done it twice and not to challenge her with that.  Mr. Dishong explained that all but three members of the PVFRS live in Pahrump.  The three live in Las Vegas.  Van Dishong noted that only three people will be affected by where they live if the ambulance service ceases.  Mr. Dishong commented that his recommendation is to vote no on the motion and move forward with the committee.  Van Dishong said if the committee fails we should take Commissioner Neth’s plan as an alternative.  

Dr. Tannoury addressed his comment to Charlotte LeVar.  Dr. Tannoury asked since it cost so much to run the business what makes her believe AMR will pay that money for Pahrump with a $200,000 subsidy, and what guarantee will you have with them.  One day they may walk out on
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the job due to the cost, then what would happen?  Dr. Tannoury asked what will happen to the indigents and what guarantee is there for the time involved.  Dr. Tannoury noted that AMR will need a 12% profit for their private company to do this.  

Paula Glidden commented that Tricore did a survey and came out with a projection on a question to support or oppose the County being able to provide faster fire emergency services if it slightly increased your household taxes.  The result was a 75% approval rate.  Ms. Glidden stated that you get what you pay for.  

Ron Partridge commented that he does not understand the agenda item as the ambulance fund is what is supporting the fire department.  How can there be a deficit on the ambulance fund?  

Richard Billman replied that there is a deficit.  Mr. Partridge said that the ambulance fund is supporting the fire department and there is an overall deficit of the PVFRS of $200,000 and is on the fire department side, not ambulance.  Mr. Billman responded that the Town commingles those funds constantly.  Richard Billman said he is tired of having a fund that we can blame things on.  

Paula Glidden stated that she would like to see a division of the funds and see exactly where and what and be able to make a better choice.  Mr. Billman noted that our next budget does separate the two and it shows a $604,000 in the red on the ambulance fund.  Mr. Partridge pointed out that the budget probably includes the purchase of new ambulances.  Richard Billman replied that it should.  Mr. Partridge commented that he has not seen a copy of the budget.  Mr. Billman explained that no one comes to the budget meeting and then complaining about the budget.  

Ed Bishop asked that Chief Lewis to explain the situation of the ambulance service supporting the fire service because a local television program a statement was made that there was not room for debate on the subject with a direct quote from Chief Lewis that the ambulance fund was making money and they were supporting the fire service.  Mr. Bishop asked Chief Lewis if he said that and if he did, is it true.  If it is not true would he explain to the people how that works.

Chief Lewis said it was not a direct quote.  Scott Lewis explained that historically the enterprise fund was supporting fire activities.  Any time that PVFRS was not involved in patient care, the salaries were being drawn from the enterprise fund, Chief Lewis said.  At the Mountain View fire there was personnel on scene for approximately eight to ten hours.  Chief Lewis said that none of that was reimbursable from a revenue standpoint to reimburse the salaries that paid for the firefighters fighting the fire.  This has been the experience for years.  Scott Lewis noted that when preparing for this upcoming fiscal year budget a meeting was held with the Town Manager and the Financial Director and it was decided to try and offset what salaries would be drawn normally from the enterprise and put them into the appropriate fire side under the General Fund.  This was completed by moving six full time employees to the fire side and that is where the confusion lies as people believe there is a shuffling of personnel to hide money which is not the
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case.  Chief Lewis said that anything other than patient transports and care is what is being accounted for in regards to the division of monies.  Chief Lewis said we are talking about cash flow issues versus depreciation and bad debts along with accounting issues.  

Ron Partridge commented on the other agenda items and regarding the County taking back the service, Mr. Partridge asked which service.  Paula Glidden responded the ambulance service.  Mr. Partridge said you cannot separate the ambulance service from the fire service as it was created by PTO #5.  Ron Partridge said to abolish PTO #5 would allow for the County to take it back.  Regarding cutting the number of employees due to a lack of funding, Mr. Partridge commented that the service is divided into three shifts with normally eight people per shift.  If AMR came in and they had to take two patients to Las Vegas as they will only transport one patient per ambulance what happens when someone has to go the helicopter pad.   Ron Partridge said that if the Board is to take no action there probably will not be a fire-rescue service left.  Mr. Partridge recommended that the Board take some kind of action and supports Henry Neth’s idea.

Chuck Patti commented about the ambulance service paying for the fire department and the commingling of funds.  Mr. Patti noted that in NRS 354.612 states that each enterprise fund established must account for all charges properly related to the purpose of the fund including without limitation debt service, capital outlay and operating expenses.  No transfer of equity that may be made available to other funds or functions may be declared in an enterprise fund until after all proper obligations have been charged against the fund.  Chuck Patti commented that for four years the Town has been violating the NRS.

Jim Petell commented on that the Town Board has a commitment to the citizens.  Mr. Petell encouraged the Board to ask the Commissioners for PETT funds to help.  With the growth not only in businesses but in home developments as well, it puts a strain on the safety, health and welfare of our community.  

Ron Frazier commented that the ambulance service is needed and the Town Board should keep the service.  Mr. Frazier suggested that avenues be investigated for this purpose.

Candice Trummell commented that there are many untapped funding sources through FEMA and noted that none have been acted upon by the Town.  Ms. Trummell pointed out that the Town was asking for double the subsidy it requested last year.  Candice Trummell noted that there is no logic with emotional pleas.  Ms. Trummell commented on the suggestion by Henry Neth and suggested that I be brought before the County Commissioners.  Ms. Trummell clarified that the using AMR is not the Town’s decision.  

Paula Glidden stated that there was a need to look at the overall picture which substantiates the need for the committee.  


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Ms. Trummell stated that the County is being forced into making a decision and is considering all alternatives.  

Paula Glidden brought up the fact that do to being an unincorporated town it makes it hard to find funding without the County.  Ms. Trummell confirmed that the County has the ultimate authority over the Town.  

Charlie Gronda commented that since the Town took over the ambulance service the overall service has improved.  Mr. Gronda suggested that it go to the people to see if they want the fire tax district.  Charlie Gronda said he feels that the committee should be allowed to work it out.

Harley Kulkin commented that it appears that decisions have already been made and that AMR will be running all of it.  Mr. Kulkin asked Mr. Billman if he has anything to do with AMR.  Mr. Billman replied he does not other than he knows a few people that work there.  Mr. Kulkin asked if Mr. Billman does collections for AMR.  Richard Billman stated that Mr. Kulkin was too lazy or too ignorant to decide how to find out whether or not Mr. Billman owned a collection agency.  Mr. Billman stated that the does not own a collection agency and works for a collection agency.  Mr. Kulkin asked if Mr. Billman does collections for AMR.  Richard Billman replied no.   Harley Kulkin said it was interesting to learn that the ambulance service pays for the fire department employees.  Mr. Billman commented that it was not learned but heard that.  Harley Kulkin tried to comment on AMR.  Richard Billman said he did not see the AMR proposal until just now and have not read the entire proposal and will not comment.  Mr. Kulkin said he did not ask that for a comment.  Harley Kulkin pointed out that AMR wants $60,000 a year from the brothels, $150,000 and a guarantee of a 12% profit after the Town shares overhead expenses.  AMR says they will provide more than two ambulances if needed but did not say there would be no additional costs.  Mr. Kulkin said that the County Commissioners have failed to bring prosperity to the County.  Harley Kulkin commented that this is a very important decision and the Board should not be making it tonight.  Mr. Kulkin said he felt it was improper protocol for a County Commissioner to be looking into matters without a formal request from the Town Board.  Health, safety and welfare should come first for the County Commissioners.  The proper thing is to keep the ambulance service.  The hospital will make the ambulance service considerably more profitable.  AMR is asking for a guarantee of five years and another five years if they so elect and another five years after that.  

Dr. Michael Reiner, Volunteer Medical Director for the PVFRS, said he is speaking as a medical professional in this town.  Dr. Reiner said he works closely with Chief Lewis and the crews and find them to be the finest people that we have had to work with.  Dr. Reiner said he does not know what he would do if he did not have someone to call on that had the equipment necessary to be able to save the lives of the citizens. Dr. Reiner stated that he agrees with Dr. Tannoury and commented that they could not survive without the PVFRS.  Dr. Reiner recommended that Mr. Billman redo his motion to do whatever it takes to make sure this town, the doctors, the people, have the necessary resources to survive and live here. Dr. Reiner stated that this town is filled
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with indigent people who cannot afford to pay their bills or take their medicines and is the reason the PVFRS has so much difficulty collecting money for services.  By looking at another service is putting our community at risk.  Dr. Reiner stated that as a medical provider in this Town he calls for service from PVFRS and it is there within fifteen minutes.  That is a service that cannot be replaced.  Dr. Reiner again stated that the motion should be restated to make sure we have the services.  Dr. Reiner suggested going to the Commissioners and feels it is not a good idea to put it in the hands of Candice Trummell because what she will propose will be whatever it takes to meet a budget.  Dr. Reiner said we are at 85% growth according the Wall Street Journal article.  Dr. Reiner stated that having the hospital will not solve a lot of problems.  It will be a critical access care hospital meaning 72 to 96 hours if you are not better you will be transported to Las Vegas.  A hospital to hospital transport will be reimbursable so the problems will be solved when the hospital gets here.  

Rick Wilber, Acting Program Manager and Chief Flight Nurse with Mercy Air Service, commented that he has watched this fire department evolve into what it is today.  Mr. Wilber noted that there is not a better fire department than PVFRS.  They are a premier fire department.  

Dave McClellen commented that the motion before the Board is the wrong thing.  It should be a tiered step.  Fire departments across the nation are gaining ambulance services and Pahrump should not be going in the opposite direction.  Mr. McClellen said the Board should want to keep its services here.  An outside company will not do it for the benefit of Pahrump and will be there for their own pockets.  

Kristen Harrelson commented that there are dispatch issues involved with AMR.  The process would be that the call would come in to Nye County Sheriff’s Office, then to Las Vegas.  AMR would then dispatch to your residence.  Not being familiar with the town AMR would have difficulty with finding address in an unfamiliar area.  Ms. Harrelson said that AMR does not want to be held responsible for any time issues.  Clark County Fire and City Fire hold AMR responsible for times and when they do not make their times, they are fined.  Quality of care is also an issue Kristen Harrelson stated.  Our EMT’s and Paramedics serve the community with a higher level of care right now.  Southwest Ambulance or AMR cannot provide the same level of care that Pahrump is getting right now.  It will help with a local hospital but will not take the need from the service.  

Jane Snow commented that the most of the fire department costs are offset by the money earned by the ambulance service revenue.  If the ambulance service was given away, Ms. Snow asked where the funds would come from to support the fire department.  Mr. Billman replied taxes.  Richard Billman said this is what has been being argued about for years.  Jane Snow explained that Laughlin and Bullhead used to have combined paid and volunteer people.  When taken over by Mercy they said they would utilize the volunteers, but when they came in the first thing they did was run the volunteers out.  AMR, in their proposal, is asking for sole providership for Advanced Life Support.  Jane Snow noted that our fire department will not be able to provide life
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support.  Currently, when AMR runs short of ambulances in Las Vegas, they call in their units from Laughlin and Bullhead.  

Jo Gus commented that she takes exception to Ms. Trummell’s statement.  Ms. Gus stated this is an emotional issue when our loved ones are involved.  Jo Gus commented that there is an item on the County agenda to put a moratorium on developments in the valley with the intent to structure or discuss impact fees.  Ms. Gus she feels some of the money for impact fees should come to PVFRS.  

Jeanna Howard responded that the moratorium is to place some sort of control over the growth due to the impact on our resources.  Ms. Howard noted that it was this Town Board that went to the Regional Planning Commission, who went to the Nye County Commissioners to impose impact fees.  This process will take a tremendous amount of time.  Legally the Town Board cannot ask for anything.  However, the impact fees are being looked into.  This Board brought in a professional agency with 25 years experience to audit the PVFRS with a pretense that the Board will form a committee to discuss different options.  The Town is looking at impact fees; we have restructured business licenses and have met with business owners regarding a safety fee on fireworks sales.  Ms. Howard noted that there have been discussions regarding calendars for the Town of Pahrump.  Jeanna Howard said she is busting her butt trying to find resolve for this department as well as the rest of the Board.  

Paul Willis commented that nobody wants to impugn the character of the PVFRS.  Mr. Willis said they do a great job.  The Town Board has responsibilities just as everyone else does.  Their responsibility is that there is only so much money the Town has and they cannot spend more than they bring in.  With regard to starting a fire district, by the time the legislation gets approved it will be 2006 before the money starts coming in.  Paul Willis said this is not something that just happened over night.  This has been a problem since the beginning.  Mr. Willis said in one respect he sees that the service should go back to the County.  Paul Willis said everyone wants the best service that we can get.  Mr. Willis stated that some people feel their taxes are too high right now.  Paul Willis suggested that the Town be told what it need and to put it on the ballot and give the people a chance to make the decision.  Mr. Willis said he wants a bottom line.  

Christine Jones commented that her house payment jumped substantially.  When checking into it she found that her homeowner’s policy jumped 45% and was because of the distance she lives from the fire department.  Ms. Jones noted that many families in the community that do not pay taxes as they are not home owners.  Christine Jones stated that every family uses electricity.  Ms. Jones suggested that letting the voters decide that if you have a power meter for each you pay $10 a month to go the emergency services.  That way everyone is paying and not just the taxpayers.  

Anita Dishong commented that Mr. Billman stated that the fire department would be run by taxes if the EMS service is given back to the county or abolished.  Ms. Dishong asked if that was from
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a tax that the Town gets now or a new tax.  Mr. Billman replied that it would be from the taxes we are currently getting.  The budget would have to be reallocated.  Anita Dishong asked if Mr. Billman had any idea what that tax money generates for PVFRS.  Mr. Billman said he can only say what the current budget is which is $750,000 to the PVFRS.  Richard Billman explained that many of the people that we say are ambulance personnel are actually fighting fires.  Ms. Dishong clarified by saying they do both as they are a joint service.  Anita Dishong asked if the ambulance service is abolished will the Town continue to have a full time service or propose that the service go volunteer.  

Jeanna Howard commented that she asked the Finance Director to work up numbers months ago with the basics of fire department to meet the needs of this valley based on call volume, assist with sheriff’s calls and so on.  Ms. Howard noted that amount was $1.2 million.  Mr. Richards said he did not recall the specific number.  Jeanna Howard stated that the point that the structure is when a person responds to a call they may spend time as a paramedic and as a firefighter.  Ms. Howard said she would like to see the information correctly.  Jeanna Howard explained that she and Mr. Billman do not agree, but she believes that the enterprise fund is bringing in above and beyond its needs, but due to the reporting mechanism the money has been offsetting the fire department.  If this is true, the Town will have to come up with ways to subsidize the fire department based on the numbers supplied by the Finance Director.  

Paula Glidden said she agrees with Ms. Howard in that we are only talking about a small deficit, although relative.  Ms. Glidden said if we do abolish the enterprise find the Town will have to come up with money in addition to paying for the privatized ambulance service that the County is going to recommend.  

Richard Billman noted that there is nothing in his motion that says we are going to throw this to the County so they can recommend anything.  Mr. Billman said if the motion passes the County takes it.  

Jeanna Howard clarified that the $400,000 that keeps being brought up is with a $200,000 subsidy to purchase two new ambulances because as a governing body said no, let’s go to the County.  Ms. Howard said she does not agree with this but that is what the Board as a consensus did.  Therefore, $200,000 is what is being asked for as a subsidy from Nye County.  Ms. Howard said she would be negligent if she did not ask the County.

Anita Dishong asked about all the large businesses that were allowed to build here.  Are any tax subsidy received?  Mr. Billman explained that it goes to the County.  Ms. Dishong asked if there was a way for the Town to get some of that money.  Richard Billman replied that we can ask and that is why he feels the ambulance services rests in the wrong hands.  The County has the cash and holds the purse strings and we have to beg.  Mr. Billman said that the last two times we asked, we did not get it.  Ms. Dishong stated that if she were called to a fire and there were an injured person, she would have a hard time not providing emergency medical services.  
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Tim Gold, President IAFF Local 4068 noted that much of what he prepared has already been said.  Mr. Gold said he would like to encourage as a Town Board to maintain the ambulance and fire-rescue service in the Town of Pahrump.  Mr. Gold stated that it would be in the Town’s best interest to continue for obvious reasons.  Tim Gold pointed out that with the AMR proposal you will not get the response that people get right now.  Mr. Gold said he feels the Nye County Commission will have Pahrump’s best interest at heart.  One thing that is very obvious is the fact there was a hasty bid for two ambulances that will cost the Town $210,000 per year.  Tim Gold noted that this year and the year before we have requested and had a transfer of $200,000 from the General Fund into the enterprise fund.  You are getting a service so much greater than you would.  In the AMR proposal it states that the $210,000 would come from $60,000 in brothel fees and $150,000 that would have to come from the General Fund.  Mr. Gold said it appears the Town will be paying $210,000 from the general fund no matter how you look at it whether you give it to a private service or your own.  Mr. Gold commended Ed Bishop for his pro active thinking in 1999 that there would be a possibility of raising rates, which Mr. Gold said has been addressed in the Abaris Report.  Tim Gold said Mr. Bishop was looking into the future.  Mr. Gold suggested holding off trying to transfer any service until the committee has been able to look at other options.  Making a hasty decision would end up biting back in the future and suggested running with Mr. Neth’s proposal.  

Patricia Cox commented that the she personally felt that the Town needs to keep the service.  Ms. Cox said she recommended a year ago to help fund the service with a caveat that the Town would come up with a mechanism so it would be self supporting and have been going through several steps as pointed out by Ms. Howard.  Ms. Cox said that when the County has a deficit of its own, to take on another liability such as this, she will support and help in any way she can.  Patricia Cox pointed out that due to the County deficit that coming to the County is not the answer but working together is.  

Paula Glidden added that there have been discussions before concerning the population center being in Pahrump.  Ms. Glidden pointed out that Pahrump is about 80% population of Nye County and hoped that the Commissioners remember that when they make their votes.  Paula Glidden stated that Pahrump needs to be a huge part of the County budget issue, and we need to be more than one of the little Towns in Nye County.  We need more.  

Patricia Cox said she agrees with Ms. Glidden’s statement but she also knows that the Town of Pahrump gets the property taxes from the big businesses.  The Town of Pahrump gets the benefits through employment.  The small share of sales tax is what is divvied up.  Ms. Cox commented that we need to move the process a little bit faster, come up with a resolution of how we are going to fund it.  Patricia Cox said we need to work together and not against each other.  Ms. Cox suggested that the committee have goals and deadlines as we cannot wait another year.  Let the citizens get involved and come up with solutions.  Patricia Cox suggested that the Board listen to the staff and the people who have given their advice that the Town paid for.  The Town and County needs to work together.  
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Paula Glidden stated that the Board appreciates Ms. Cox’s support for Pahrump.

Chuck Patti commented that he has been listening and is not there to bash the Town Board or the PVFRS or any citizen.  Mr. Patti said he would like to provide some information that he researched.  Chuck Patti said he was trying to present this information as close to being objective as possible.  Mr. Patti commented on the “take no action” on the agenda.  Mr. Patti said to take no action is a waste of time and is a cop out.  Chuck Patti commented on “put something on the ballot” item.  Mr. Patti asked what the Town Board was wishing for.  After doing the research, Mr. Patti said he would not vote for the ballot items.  If a special fire district is formed, the Town has formed a special fund.  Mr. Patti said we can get a one and half percent tax that will produce about $95,000 that will be collected in August or September 2005.  This is not enough to take care of the Chief’s salary.  The problem with setting up the special fund is that it is all the money the Town will get for the fire department.  Mr. Patti said he does not believe that the citizens of the town want to cut the budget for emergency services.  Mr. Patti said that in NRS 269.250 it says the town shall provide a fire service.  However, NRS 269.255 it states that the Board of County Commissioners of the various counties are empowered to levy and collect a tax not to exceed 1.5%.  Therefore, it does not have to go to vote.  Chuck Patti addressed decreasing the number of employees by saying this is something that we do not want to do.  This was addressed in the budget.  Mr. Patti said he was leery of the budget numbers. Chuck Patti said we need to start looking at the law.  Mr. Patti said this is a cancer that started back when.  Had it been taken care of we could have saved the patient. Now if we do not perform surgery we may lose the patient.  The doctors that spoke pointed out that this is a poor community but we want to raise their taxes.  Paula Glidden replied that sometimes people will not pay their medical bills.  

Dave Richards commented on the comments by Mr. Patti that the Town is in violation of some law by his perspective of commingling of funds.  Dave Richards said that is not the case and would not want the newspaper to print that we are in violation of any laws.  Mr. Richards noted that the NRS Mr. Patti quoted mentions that you cannot take money from the enterprise fund until all the obligations are met and then you can take funds from the enterprise fund and put them some place else.  We are not doing that.  Mr. Richards said we are taking money from the general fund and putting it into the enterprise fund and no funds from the ambulance fund are expended anywhere except for ambulance services.  Dave Richards stated that our budgets are sent to the State Taxation Department after the Town Board approves it and they review them and if there was any commingling going on as suggested by Chuck Patti they would let us know we were in violation of the law.  The Department of Taxation would make the Town correct the budget.  Mr. Richards stated we are not commingling funds.

Chuck Patti said he would not disagree with Mr. Richards and asked where the people working in the ambulance get their paycheck from.  Dave Richards replied they get their checks from Nye County.  Mr. Patti asked what fund they are being paid out of.  Mr. Richards said they are paid out of both funds.  Chuck Patti said he would have to see it in black and white because this has

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been a prevalent comment for the past four years.  Dave Richards suggested having a conference call with the Department of Taxations concerning this issue.  

Rod Sherer commented that he sees some frustration going on and can see it on the state level as well.  Mr. Sherer said we are in a situation that we must communicate together.  Mr. Sherer commented that he is excited to see that some entities are coming together.  Rod Sherer said he noticed through meetings that the Town has a plan and the County has a plan and they are not matching up.  Mr. Sherer said the Board needs to get educated about the issue and make the right decision.  But make a decision. Once a decision is made the Board needs to stick to it.  Rod Sherer said he knows there are emotions involved in this discussion and matters not even discussed concerning operations.  Mr. Sherer stated that we need to make some educated decisions and would appreciate it if some time was taken to make the right decision and do the right thing.  Rod Sherer said he would help in any way he can.  Mr. Sherer noted that we are in growing pains and we need to catch up with our growth.  The only way to do that is to be able to step out and look from the outside, and think outside the box.  

Harley Kulkin commented that he heard that it will cost more not to have the ambulance versus giving it away.  Mr. Kulkin asked for the audience to raise their hands if they heard anything to convince them not keep the ambulance service.  (The majority of audience members raised their hands.).  

Jeanna Howard pointed out that Commissioner Neth said that this item would be addressed on the Commissioner’s agenda after 2:30 p.m.   Paula Glidden encouraged all present for this meeting to go to that meeting.  

Charlotte LeVar commented that there has been a lot of dialogue and it is all positive.  However, seeing what people want, she would like to see us bend a little more and give the Board a two or three month window before making a decision.  Mrs. LeVar suggested continuing with Mr. Billman’s motion with an amendment giving the Board a three month window to see if the idea of Mr. Neth is a possibility.  

Richard Billman responded that if in fact Mr. Neth’s proposal has any merit the County would have the ambulance service and they can make use of the money.  This does not give the ambulance service to an outside provider.  Apparently, that is something that the County Commissioners are looking at.  Mr. Billman said he is looking at putting the ambulance service where the money is.  Richard Billman stated that for any of Commissioners to say we are in the red, well so is the Town.  And we do not have much money, nor do we have a way of quickly getting any.  Mr. Billman said it is his opinion that if we are going to do anything we need to do now.  And let the County Commissioners decide if they are going to give us $400,000 and fund us or if they are going to take back the service.  


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Mr. Billman commented that the subsidy that he has heard talked about in the amount of $150,000 is less money than the $200,000 we currently subsidize.  Richard Billman said to remember is that residential growth is rapid and that residential growth does not build infrastructure, it uses it and requires money.  

Paula Glidden stated that she agrees with Mr. Billman’s thought in the sense of the future recommendations.  Ms. Glidden said that she feels the motion is too open ended in that it allows the Board to give up.  Paula Glidden said if that motion is voted on that we are giving up control of the destiny of the ambulance service.  The County will make a decision they want based on money issues and is afraid that the Board will not have a chance through the committee to understand what it is we really need and where our future is going.  Paula Glidden suggested that the Board take a step back and let the committee work and come to the Board with a recommendation.  

Richard Billman replied that the Board has been saying that for the 18 – 19 months.  Mr. Billman said the Board has been saying it prior to this Board and will continue to be saying this.  

Richard Billman restated the motion.  “I move that the Pahrump Town Board request of the Nye County Board of County Commissioners, an annual subsidy for the ambulance enterprise in the amount of $400,000 and that in the alternative the Board of County Commissioners assume the care and control of the ambulance enterprise.  If the Board of County Commissioners selects neither of these options then the Town Board of Pahrump will cease operations of the ambulance enterprise on September 1, 2004.  

Vote failed 2 – 3.  Voting in favor were Richard Billman and Charlotte LeVar.  Those voting against were Paula Glidden, Jeanna Howar

 


Backup

There is no backup posted for this meeting.