Courtesy photo
Regen Gubler was sworn in as the newest member of the Caliente City Council. He takes the place of Cody Christensen, who resigned.

It was a packed house for the Caliente City Council meeting on July 5.

Burt Cox commented on agenda item 12, Bill No. 2017-02, Ordinance #183, pertaining to marijuana establishments in the city and a petition circulating attempting to have them banned through election.

“There is a lot of misfounded information that … we are going to be stealing everyone’s employees,” Cox said. “The true fact is that a lot of the specialized people we’re going to be starting with, we’re going to be bringing in on these operations because it’s a lot of training. In reality we’re going to be doing this in phases.”

Cox said the first steps in his company’s operation will involve about 10 full-time employees.

“That’s our projection over a five-year time period when it all gets built up,” he said.

He added, “Growth in the county and this city is very much needed, and we still need to try to get everyone together and have some town meetings, give more information, also have some meetings with business owners.”

Franklin Katschke also made public comment stating that he would like to replace City Attorney Dylan Frehner and hoped for a motion soon, so he can “work with Mr. Frehner on getting caught up to speed on all the issues.”

And John Houston thanked the fire department and utilities for quickly restoring power to the hot springs after a big tree limb fell on a wire, causing a short and three small fires.

Following public comment, there was discussion as to who would fill Cody Christensen’s place on the council. The prospective councilmembers were Keith Larson, Regen Gubler, and Besty Comella. The council had a discussion and Councilman Victor Jones urged the ones not picked to run in the next election. A motion was made and the council then picked Gubler, who was duly sworn in.

Amanda Anderson was appointed as deputy city clerk. The council approved the job description for the city clerk with wages starting at $35,000, topping out at $60,000. Job descriptions for deputy city clerk and utility clerk job were approved.

Resolution 2018-01 created a monthly utility standby that will apply to vacant lots, homes, or those who don’t have utilities or homes who have hookups but aren’t using them that are still reaping benefit of having utilities in the area of their homes/property. The standby will help assist in maintaining utilities even though they are not hooked up.

The city spends about $20,000 a year replacing meters. This has been being paid for by those using utilities. The standby fees will be per utility on said vacant property/homes. Fees will be: $2.79 for sewer, $5.75 for water, and $6.37 for power. The council approved this effective July 1, 2018.

Nevada Hospice Care’s Julie Sartine requested a business license and was approved.

There was a review of the financial effects on the local government of the referendum to repeal Bill No. 2017-02, Ordinance #183 pertaining to marijuana establishments in the city. Dylan Frehner told the council that a repeal petition went around the community on June 18.

He said in order to get it on the ballot there have to be 12 percent of the voters who voted on the last city election which was the mayoral election. There were 213 voters, so 10 percent would be 21.

“Last week the city clerk and I verified the signatures with the county clerk’s office,” Frehner said. “There were 39 signatures validated.”

Now the Certificate of Sufficiency has to be done. Once finalized, the council has 30 days to decide if it wants to repeal the ordinance. If it decides not to, the ordinance will go on the ballot for the next city or general election.

“I don’t know if we have enough time to get on the November ballot, just because, talking to the county clerk, we have to have everything in before the end of July,” Frehner said. “At best it will come before the voters in June 2019.”

However, one of the things required is that the council has to review and make a decision about the financial impact on the city before it can be overturned to the city. If there is any impact, the city clerk is to list those impacts on the city web page to discuss the impact to the city.

Jones asked if the authors of the petition were known.

Frehner replied that Tammy Hubbard, Jerry Meader, Shauna Drew, Wendy Kirchesh, and Doreen Brown were the five people on the committee who created the petition.

Councilman John Ahlstrom stated that though he voted against the ordinance, he didn’t know anything about the petition prior to hearing about it in the meeting.

Frehner said if the marijuana ordinance is overturned it could cause financial issues for the city.

Councilman Gubler asked if there could be any legal issues with businesses already invested.

Frehner replied, “There is always going to be some potential liability. We’re looking into things. Currently it’s in regard to if their licenses are approved. If this referendum is in place, will they be grandfathered in? If they put infrastructures in and got denied all of a sudden, yes, there would be.”

The council voted to have the city clerk list the financial impact to the city on the city web page.

The next meeting will be July 19 at 6 p.m. at the Depot.