Caliente City Council News

During the Nov. 2 Caliente City Council meeting, Connie Simkins of Nuclear Oversight gave a presentation on Yucca Mountain.

The status of Yucca Mountain has not been decided. The Trump administration has recommended more time to finish the review of the license application, so funding has not totally been approved. It has been approved in the House of Representatives, but not approved in the Senate, so it will likely require a conference committee between the two where they will negotiate what, if anything, happens. It is likely that if anything happens, it will happen by Dec. 8 this year because Congress and the federal budget are operating under a continuing resolution that runs out then.

Simkins’ reason for attending the meeting was to provide the council with copies of every one of the studies that Lincoln County and the City of Caliente have paid for since 1984 of the Yucca Mountain Project. The hard copies of the studies are in the oversight office in Panaca, room 107.

Lincoln County Commission funds have been paying Simkins’ wages and will be available until December 2017. If funding becomes available, Simkins will help someone to take over but would like to continue to do the oral histories as she is personally interested in them and has the training to do them.

Mull’s Midway Motel was next on the agenda. They have paid most of the room taxes, being a month behind. They now plan to submit an application for a state license under a Doing Business As (DBA) instead of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and hope to have it resolved by Friday.

Mayor Tommy Rowe asked when they might be able to catch up what is owed the city. Mull said he will find a way to raise the last of what’s owed in ten days.

Councilman John Ahlstrom stated that he was glad they were making good on the debt and thinks the council should extend the deadline a little bit.

“I know we keep extending, but we are getting something, you’re getting caught up, and it’s helping the community and city. I don’t want to see you out of business or the motel shut down.”

Councilman Cody Christensen said, “If this is going to be an ongoing problem, I don’t see why we don’t revoke it today. If you could give a firm commitment and hold to it that this won’t happen again and that you’re going to pay your bills on time, your taxes, utility bills, and keep your licenses up to date, I might give you until next meeting.”

Ahlstrom moved that Mull be given until next meeting to be completely caught up.

After more discussion, Mull said he will do his best to make the commitment. Christensen said, “We can’t keep extending this forever. I’m inclined to give them until next meeting, but if this ever happens again, I’ll make the motion to take your business license immediately. So I guess I’ll second the motion.”

The motion passed with Ahlstrom and Christensen voting yea and Rowe not voting.

The city map changes were tabled, given that they were not complete.

Wage increases to non-union workers were discussed, including for Kelli Haluzak, Stephen Fisher, and Jerry Carter. It had been budgeted for these employees to get a raise increase like other employees, retroactive to July 1, 2017.

When discussed, it was a 2.1 percent raise across the board for everyone. The three employees will get a 2.1 raise on whatever they are making now. This was approved.

Ken Dixon reported on the Mountain Bike Trails within the city. As of Thursday, they have 8,000 feet of trail completed. They plan to be ready by the middle of December. A crew should be arriving to start the work this week.

The Waterline Project going up Antelope Canyon was discussed. With the price increases, the city will fall short on being able to complete the project with the money that was allotted. The project was for materials only, and in order to do this they will have to take the crews off their regular jobs.

Dylan Frehner said it’s the council’s decision whether they want to go through with the project. They need a decision from the board to let CDBG know if they want to refund the money or modify the plans.

Christensen said the original decision was to get water to a power plant that was going to be built up in the canyon. But that part of town is also in need of having some upgrades done. This could be accomplished if development in the canyon was also tied into the project. More information will be brought before the council in a future meeting.

Councilman Victor Jones was absent and Fire Chief George Rowe was present.

Next meeting will be Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Depot. Seating will be available.

 

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