At the August 2 meeting, the Virgin Valley Water District board awarded a bid to Mesquite General Contracting (MGC) for the grading at the site of Well 27A. The project was approved unanimously by a vote of 4-0 and capped to not exceed $100,000 in cost. MGC was only one of two bidders, with Trade West bidding in at $194,368.50.
The project is centered around preparing the land north of Bank of Nevada in an empty lot owned by Urban Land of Nevada (the Eureka) for a new well. The dirt at the site needs to be leveled in preparation for that project. With the current development of the Rising Star Sports Ranch and their construction, dirt is needed there to build a field house on that property. In cooperation with the Eureka, Mesquite General Contractors will haul approximately 4,700 cubic yards of soil by August 26. “There is not a lot to move,” said Sam Senn with Forsgren Associates. “This will be a really quick operation.”
In other business, an item requested by board member Sandra Ramaker came under fire once again. Ramaker had requested the district consider developing and implementing a new process for their budgets because she felt that items weren’t listed in the budget correctly. Ramaker’s lead example was the fact that there is a line for land purchases provided in the budget documents, but nothing is listed. Board members and staff must instead go to each project where the land item may or may not be listed as a project cost. “We need more details on projects during the budget meetings,” she said. Manager Kevin Brown noted to the board that “we don’t always have details on projects at the time of the budget.” VVWD Accountant Wes Smith noted that the bids received on the projects provide the details needed.
After discussion from staff, board members and Mesquite resident Mike McGreer, who Ramaker admitted had helped her bring this agenda item to the meeting, board President Nephi Julien directed staff to “explore options for quarterly reports on projects” as well as consider adding more categories and line items to the current budget layouts which would provide more detail. Julien had noted that adopting a new method for the budget would not only cost thousands of dollars but it would also take two to three years to implement. “How much time and money do you want to spend on that additional detail,” he asked. “We can spend every moment on minutia detail and get nothing from it.” The item was left on the table with no action other than the direction from Julien.
The third item on the agenda was a report from VVWD Attorney Bo Bingham, regarding statements made by former board member Robert “Bubba” Smith who vacated his seat without notice in July. At the May 17 meeting, Smith had made statements about inaccuracies with water rights or shares or that the numbers were misrepresented, insinuating that there were secret meetings that violated the Nevada Open Meeting Law. Bingham researched the accusations and attempted to contact Smith by phone and email, but received no response. “There is no evidence to back up his statements,” said Bingham.
With that being said, Vice President Barbara Ellestad noted for the record that due to that finding, the accusations and allegations made by Smith were unfounded.