What is going on in your county!
We will be working toward a more ongoing and stable updates page to provide information to what we have been up to, as for now it will be briefs covering pertinent topics and updates may be generated from any of the Commissioners who get the time to get on and do it. For now I will begin.
Chris Hegg's update report,
As the first year has ended, our new positions and tasks were sometimes overwhelming and complex. I think the Board came together on priority issues and continue to drive many along to see they are completed. Big items are new marijuana rules and grow/dispensary site allowance ordinance changes. Another at the end of the year and most quickly worked through was the no-shooting distances to houses ordinance adoption. Title 17's massive changes was done in staggered sessions but it was finally fixed and presentable. The Clean-up enforcement ordinance is back on the table and being heavily modified to better serve everyone. Internal topics are being dealt with on topics of safety, security, building repair and other outdated situations. Externally our county needs a face lift and we need to start with our own locations. The biggest challenges still facing our fiscal responsibility has been the new software and equipment to replace the AS400, 911 services and voting process! These ended up not being millions to replace as initially thought, but they will be hundreds of thousands all at once covering years of payments. On top of this our budget already maintains a loan payoff for the metal roof and the voters did decide to maintain the school bond .25 continuation which will continue to defund our county budget. Tax base, PILT funds, room tax and Centrally Assessment funding mixed with varying costs all fluctuates and the chore is balancing a budget with big guesstimates on all of it. Our work toward modifications to user fees allowed the dump to be open without charge to customers and thus helping maintain a cleaner town and desert.
Our biggest internal budget decisions was to provide more higher-certified EMT positions using a grant where we match wage costs in a multi-year process. This reduced staff did cost the county by increasing insurance costs and thus was voted on quickly to avoid having even further increases to everyone. Fire services in outlying towns is hard to keep going and we again got services going in time to avoid some from incurring higher insurance costs. Luning town has reported higher insurance costs due to lack of operational local fire services and we are still attempting to find solutions to that issue.
Another big topic was safety item budgets and now all departments have a safety budget. Big capital outlay projects got funded for every county building needing repair that we could afford. One of my personal missions was to see our infrastructure improve and it turned out to be everyone's mission and our teams are spread thin still attempting to complete them all! I will list some photos below of the improvements, but note that no serious improvements were done unless they were complete failure situations in the past and that now the thought for the future will remain the ongoing way of doing business. The Mina Municipal Building upgrades for roof, wall and painting repairs was graciously and completely done and covered by the University who leases space in it! That effort helped the county greatly and we are always happy to have them there. Thousands was directed to upgrade the Care and Share and/or prepare for future upgrades and to the Grounds Office building to extend it for a lunch room and office space. The Municipal Building for the Judge and D.A. offices was funded to remove a water and mold issue. The Health Nurse office was funded for landscaping, which remains ongoing.
The good news;
Our Hawthorne Club sign died after wind and base failure occurred. Insurance covered it and a replacement was built and installed!
The new dog run at the park is almost complete! Giving a great area to walk dogs yet be respectfully away from the Fallen Soldiers Memorial zone.
At the park, the new D.O.T. Electric Highway continuation is happening with brand new electric car charging stations on 10th street side with a new parking area and fence for the park!
Across the street we have re-funded the Museum division and hired a new Curator onboard! The museum is open year round so please visit often! A new gold panning section will be fully operational soon. The museum got funding to repair the roof and install new lighting, seen here, at the entrance!
The graveyard received a new front fence that looks fantastic! Included will be trees and a bench area with more painting and fixups.
The airport has improved lighting and a new fuel farm operational! Thanks to the Fire Chief we will be receiving a Fire Crash Truck to handle aircraft fires and other fires within the county.
The fire department also received a new ambulance, which is now in service.
The fire department received a new to us water tender which is operational now.
1st street pole easement cleaning project commenced with removal of overlaiden gravels where it can be kept more weed free. This coincided to the community cleanup day activities process of wanting to maintain a cleaner town. The town of Mina received cleaned areas and roads while the building work was commencing as well.