Dear Editor,

Don’t know how many of you were living in Lincoln County several years ago when the County proposed a County Ordinance to compel all citizens to build concrete pads under their existing storage containers (metal sheds, conex boxes and other outdoor buildings.). On the day of the meeting to decide this issue, A SURPRISING NUMBER OF CITIZENS APPEARED AT THE COURTHOUSE TO PROTEST THIS PROPOSED ORDINANCE. In fact, there were so many citizens there, they could not even conduct the meeting inside the building and the meeting (as it was) took place in front of the Courthouse. If you recall, the “powers” at the Courthouse decided they had been premature (out of line) in proposing this ordinance and retreated on this issue. WELL DONE CITIZENS.

It is my belief that only a turnout of the magnitude exhibited on that long-ago day will serve to force the County Commissioners to cease and desist in their questionable acts and actions relating to the assessment, receipt and distribution of Possessory Use Taxes collected from the Air Force on behalf of the private contractors operating at Area 51.

To the best of my knowledge, the Board is currently under investigation for committing acts and actions in violation of State laws in contracting with Ashley Hall & Associates to assess property, in “negotiating” with the Air Force for payment of “back taxes,” in signing (allegedly) non-disclosure agreements with the Pentagon and in passing a resolution which effectively violates laws relating to the apportionment of Possessory Use Taxes (Resolution 014-01). Several complaints have also been filed regarding the County’s violation of Open Meeting Laws relating to these contracts, the “costly” amendment, the flawed Air Force contract and the Board’s Resolution 2014-01.

I believe many of you have long been fed up with the manner in which our elected Commissioners “serve” us, but if we stay away from their meetings and fail to voice our opinions and concerns, we are allowing them to exert personal power over us which they are not entitled to by virtue of their office. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE OBLIGATED TO VOTE THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE THEY WERE ELECTED TO SERVE, NOT THE VOTE THAT WILL ENHANCE THEIR PERSONAL POWER.

I have requested an agenda item on the Oct. 20 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. I have asked the Board to take a corrective action and terminate the contract with Ashley Hall & Associates for non-performance (default) and breach of contract. This agenda item has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on that date. Your attendance at the meeting would be appreciated. At 1 p.m. the Board is scheduled to consider the fate of their general-fun looting resolution. I urge all the people of Lincoln County to stick around for this item as well.

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE – EARLY VOTING STARTS ON THE 18TH. DATES AND TIME ARE IN LAST WEEK’S PAPER AND POSTED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY.

Sincerely,

Carol White, Pioche

Dear Editor,

I would like to start out by saying that I am a State Certified Appraiser and I have worked in the Lincoln County Assessor’s office for 8 years. My job is not a popular one. In order to do this job efficiently, ethically and legally it requires a specialized knowledge base. To say that a new Assessor can lower your property taxes would be a naïve campaign promise, which we have all heard before. It simply cannot happen. Nevada has an intricate bifurcated tax system that has checks and balances to ensure that a new Assessor cannot come in and just start lowering tax bills. I find most people don’t have a problem with their actual assessed value but more so their tax bill dollar amount. Valuing property is a function of the Assessor’s office. It is our respective Town Boards, City Councils and County Commissioners that set the tax rates that may lower or increase our tax bills.

I have had the most incredible opportunity to learn my profession from one of the most knowledgeable, moral people I have ever met, someone who “gets it,” and that person is Melanie McBride. She is an amazingly kind-hearted person whom I look up to personally and professionally. She is virtuous, and has never taken any campaign donations people have offered because this job is about being fair and equal to everyone. She has taught me to appraise every single property as if it were my own.

The Department of Taxation does ratio studies to ensure that we are valuing properties in the county in accordance with the Nevada Revised Statutes and without bias. The position of County Assessor is a serious and important one that should not be determined by popularity or emotions. It is a position that should be determined by qualifications, experience, education and knowledge of what the position actually encompasses.

I, like Melanie McBride, was born and raised in this county and have chosen to make my life here. However, I have made the decision to walk away from my Deputy Assessor position if Mark Holt is elected. I don’t feel it should be my responsibility to try and teach my boss how to do his job. I feel like if he is so passionate about the Assessor’s position then he should have applied when there were job opportunities available in the Assessor’s office. He then could have learned how to do the job and become state certified, a requirement that must be acquired before he can perform the duties of an appraiser. If he cannot acquire a state certification, or until he does, the state will have to step in and perform his duties for him, and per NRS 360.215 they will charge the county to do so. The state is watching this election very closely.

I have been dumbfounded that Mark would run for Assessor. Then someone explained it to me this way: “If he has absolutely no idea what the job is, he has absolutely no idea that he should be intimidated.” I can only hope you vote for someone who knows exactly what the job is. Vote for someone who has 19 years of doing the job. Vote for someone who has hundreds of hours of specialized education to do the job. Vote for someone who is state certified to do the job. Vote for Melanie McBride.

Sincerely,

Riannan Stever, Lincoln County Deputy Assessor