Hearings continue on Pioche utilities

The Pioche Town Board held another public hearing on July 6 regarding the financial impact on the Pioche Public Utilities and town budgets if the electrical system is transferred to Lincoln County Power District and the water and sewer systems are transferred to the Lincoln County Water District. A final public hearing on the issue is set for Monday, July 31 at 9 a.m. The board is asking that all citizens attend. For a copy of the pros and cons list or any questions, residents are invited to come up to the utilities office or call at 775-962-5840.

According to draft minutes provided to the LCR from the July 6 meeting, Lincoln County Power District Manager Dave Lutrell to give a brief overview of his district’s study. In 2015 the board asked Lutrell to do an analysis on what it would take if the power district took over the power system. He was hesitant for two reasons. He works for the town already and knows how many issues there are as well as the fact that the power district already has customers that they need to keep focus on.

If the system doesn’t transfer, Lutrell stated that the town needs to start taking responsibility and fixing things up. He said he hopes the town starts to realize that work needs to be done. There are bad poles, and the town needs to upgrade now due to liability reasons.

Many questions were asked by residents with many expressing they do not want to give up control of power and water to the county-level districts. Discussion revolved around cost and employee impacts, as well as how the decisions will affect quality of infrastructure, equipment and service.

Town Manager Nathan Adams was asked if the town could continue to manage the power system themselves, and Adams said not with the current income levels.

Concerns were brought up that if the power district takes on Pioche’s system, they may not help out with things like digging graves, fixing water lines or even fixing heaters at the pool. Lutrell mentioned that he does not think that that was a fair comment to make as the power district will help out with as much as they can.

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