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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
January 9, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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January 9, 1997

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' 26 Thursday, January 9, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette A question of attitude There is an attitude prevalent in the upper echelon of Nye County Administration that has as its direct consequence the county's inability to function in a fiscally efficient manner. I will give some examples which are taken at random. These examples are not isolated incidents. They reflect an "across the board" failure, predominant in Nye County, to look within and find better, cheaper, more cost effective ways to conduct county business. For instance the County has a contract with the state of Nevada to stripe county roads. The contract costs the county $200 a"striped road mile." A road with a"skip dash" center line and two"edge" lines, like the low road between Pahrump and Death Valley Junction, constitutes three "Stripes" and costs the county $600 a road mile. At the time this contract was approved by the county commission the question was asked, "Why couldn't the county stripe their own roads?" The answer that came back was immediate, "The equipment needed to stripe county roads cost over a half a million dollars." It was a good question. It was a very bad answer. It was such a bad answer that I'll leave it up to the reader to try and figure out why it was given. The facts are, that while it is possible to spend a half a million dollars on road stripe u IIII i U.,u.,.,U StateFarm Sells Lifelnsurance. JEFF BANSER Off 751-1515 ax 751-1616 1311 S. Hwy 160 Res 751-2474 i, GUNNER'S FOOD! FUN! FRIENDS! equipment, the private contractor in Nevada, that does more road stripe work than all other contractors in the state combined, spends $50,000 for each of about a dozen of these units that he owns. The cost breaks down to $25,000 for a new one ton truck to use as a platform and $25,000 for the new equipment installed on the back of each truck. His business is based in Las Vegas, operates state wide, and it is not uncommon to see a truck and crew of his marking Nye County roads. When Nye County wants a road striped the county calls the state and requests that the work be performed, the state calls the Las Vegas business and relays the message. The job is performed and the state is billed. The state pays the bill and in turn bills the county. Then the county pays the state. Road stripe work is a very profitable part of this Las Vegas businessman's sizeable enterprise. The correct answer to the question, "Why can't the county stripe its own roads?" Is it can, and after it striped 83 miles of a "skip dash" cen- ter line and two "edge" lines the equipment would be paid for. Yes, there would be some labor costs and vehicle maintenance ex- " pense- but the man in Las Vegas is not in business for his health. The manner in which the county purchases computers is another example. I touched on this subject in an earlier column. A county employee who works for the county manager wrote a "letter to the editor" in an attempt to rebut my allegations but didn't have enough guts to sign his name to it. In case you missed it the rebuttal was weak and did not address the central issues of my argument. The $60,000 plus dollars that paid for 17 PC computer systems ordered in December of 1995 and shipped in June of 1996 were over priced and not "state of the art" at the time they were ordered. By June of 1996 they could have been purchased in Nevada for half the amount paid and in addition, saved the $4,000 paid in California State Sales Tax because the purchase was made from some outfit operating out of a store front in Brisbane, California. The claim that this purchase was not required to go through an advertised bid process because the purchase was FULL SERVICE RESTAURANT 17 TELEVISIONS ENTERTAINMENT DALLY LUNCH SPECIALS Always $3.95 or Less DO CA'PE'IUNG ..... Your Place or Ours! VIDEO POKER Daily 4 of a Kind Bonus Hit a 4 of a Kind on the Card of the Day Play A Roll On Usl ROYAL FLUSHES PAID IMMEDIATELY! Karaoke Kountry Pare & J.R. WEDNESDAY NIGHTS 7-11 PM PAHRUMP DEH MATOLOGY Brothers Ill Les, Burke, & Joe LIVE BAND FRIDAY NIGHTS 9 PM - 1 AM THE DANCE MAC SATURDAY NIGHTS 9 PM - 1 AM I WHEELER SPRINGS PLAZA ..... 921 S. Highway 160 I 751-2233 ! This Man's Opinion by Brent Mathewson made from a firm offering its services to a government "pool" is beside the point. Someone may very well have saved their job or avoided a jail sentence because of this technicality, but the intent of the law was not conformed to. The intent of the law requiring an advertised bid process on purchases in ex- cess of $10,000 is to ensure that the taxpayer receives the most value for his money. This was not done. It would also seem that in a world where computer equipment is outdated - with a corresponding drastic re- duction in price - on a six month time scale, that it would not take a genius to figure out that we should be purchasing equipment that had been on the market for six months before negotiat- ing a purchase. The hundreds of thou- sands of dollars that the county spends on its corn- puter maintenance contracts also seems highly suspect. These things don't break down every 15 minutes. Why couldn't the county hire a qualified technician at a reason- able salary to perform this work? If the person happened to be in the south end of the county when a problem arose in Tonopah, so what? It wouldn't be any different, in fact it would be better, than waiting for someone out of Las Vegas or Reno as we do now with our high priced service contracts. I have been told - in defense of the acknowledged fact that the county sometimes pays more than necessary for some purchases - county staff simply doesn't have enough time to ensure that the county is getting the best available price on a given item. In the same breath I have been told that the county budget simply isn't big enough to justify a comptroller position. The total current county budget is over 43 million dol- lars. A conservative estimate of the amount of this budget that is not payroll is 12 million dollars. A person in this comptroller slot that managed to save the county a mere 1% of this 12 million dollar figure would save the county $120,000 per year. Please give me a break and admit that there just may be that much slack in there somewhere. Of course some of the county' s favorite "preferred" suppliers might be put in jeopardy should such a thing take place. A really competent comptroller might even figure out that the way many of the county' s' bid contracts are worded makes it financially infeasible for all but a select few to qualify to even make a bid. The result is a substantial increase in the price of some goods and ser- vices to the county. Specifically, what I'm talking about in this instance are large bond requirements when such re- quirements are not standard procedure in certain industries. While the county seems so fond of this type of bond, strangely enough, it enters into other contracts when bonds are required by law and never bothers to see if the require- ment has been met. As a result of this, the community of Beatty, Nevada is out $55,000 that the county spent and is still looking for its new fire truck that it will never see without paying for it all over again. I have been told in the recent past, by a very sincere and dedicated.county official, that my criticism stem s from the fact that I believe the county government should be run like a business and the problem is that it is not a business and can't be run like one. I agree with the first part. Yes, I think it should be run like a business. As for the second part - if you don't run it in a professional businesslike manner, you're going to go broke and that's exactly where we are headed without a change in this attitude. The above men- tioned official was informed that the Pahrump Valley Ga- zette edition coming out that day was bringing to light the manner and procedure in which PETT fund money had been "borrowed" in November and December of last year was in violation of Nevada law. The reply was, "Oh, Brent, you're just going to open a big can of worms." This is true and it's a can that needs to be opened. The county administration policy of "doing it in the dark" has got to come to an end if we are ever going to turn the corner to fiscal responsibility. The words spoken by too many county officials, both in public meetings and in pivate conversation, "I'd rather beg for forgiveness than ask for advice" is just another way of saying "I know we are breaking the law but if nobody knows - so what?" The "So what" part comes into play when the laws that are being broken are those that were put in place to ensure that the governing body acts in a fiscally respon- sible manner. Nye County government has far too long acted as if it were above the law. It's a question of attitude. And it needs to be changed. That is this man's opinion. 0i. ilou Gmr D. plomate American Board of Dermatology Board Certified in Dermatology Is there a way to prevent melanoma? A. By keeping your sun exposure at a minimum, you can reduce your risk of melanoma. This is especially true for people with a light complexion, with many moles and with atajpical moles. Use a "15" SPF-rated sun screen, especially duing the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you have a suspicious mole or notice a change in a mole, you should consult a dermatologist. Be sure to ask your dermatologist if they are board-certified. Jeffrey Ross Gunter, M.D. 133o s. Hi,,way 160, Suite 12 727-0146 Major Insurances Accepted Medicare Assignment Accepted Courtesy Insurance Billing iii l