Funding for the upcoming fiscal year for the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority, which had been $25,000 for 2013-2014, may been reduced to only $6,600 for 2014-2016.
Appearing before the Lincoln County Board of County Commissioners and requesting approval of a recommended budget for the next two years, Connie Simkins, director of the Lincoln County Oversight Program, and secretary of the Joint City County Impact Alleviation Committee, said her office was able to find $6,600 to give to the LCRDA.
She said, “Over the years, they have done a number of different things for us.”
However, both the JCCIAC and the County Commissioners want to wait until after the new fiscal year begins July 1 to see what carry over money from the JCCIAC budget might be available to use with the LCRDA, but that does not mean any of the money will actually be used that way.
LCRDA Vice chairman Dave Hurd later said he, and other members of the nine-member board has talked to, were quite discouraged with the lack of funding given, and are also concerned the state will in turn drastically cut funding for the LCRDA.
In making his presentation to Commissioner, Hurd read from a brief written report on their past and current accomplishments to the County by the LCRDA.
The report pointed out LCRDA was able to secure $45,000 in private funds to help complete a feasibility study to put a biomass electrical generating plant in the Caselton area.
LCRDA assisted in the design, as well as the construction of the entrance and landscape improvements to the Meadow Valley Industrial Park in Caliente; helped in getting legislation introduced in Congress to amend the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreational and Development Act to remove BLM land use restrictions to assist Meadow Bay Gold Corporation to continue plans for operation of the Atlanta Gold Mine; and have initiated a mass marketing campaign with a focus to attract U.S. companies, particularly in California and Canada, that are looking to process the Pinyon-Juniper trees to create as wide range of various products and fuels from biomass to landscaping bark Just in the past few weeks 13 companies have shown interest.
Hurd noted one Colorado company produces package firewood for Wal-Mart. Two companies, including one from Oklahoma, are interested in locating a biomass ethanol and jet fuel industry here locally. Others are interested in working with scientists to utilize biomass as feedback in the production of ethanol. Another company, Pegasus Energy Systems, has expressed interest to install an EPA approved biomass power plant in Antelope Canyon in Caliente. This could possibly reduce the power bills to Caliente residents by approximately 20 percent.
Hurd said Pegasus Energy is currently researching several property acquisitions in the area.
Paul Donohue said it is “well and good” to have companies interested in coming to Lincoln County for work on Pinyon-Juniper biomass, but the problem is going to be prying the land out of the hands of the BLM, who want to put on so many requirements, “the wall just gets higher and higher until you can’t see the flag.”
Hurd said the local biomass industry would not be in direct competition with Lincoln County Power. He explained Pegasus would not actually be supplying electricity to the City, but rather to the grid, to then be sold off the grid through LCPD, through NV Energy, as renewable energy and the city would get a royalty off of it.”
Hurd said the upgraded to the substation would also allow household garbage to be burn to create electricity. “The technology even allows them to be able to burn tires,” he said.
Commissioners will take another look at funding for LCRDA after the final ending budget figures and carry over after July 1 and possibly make a decision at the July 7 Commission meeting.