What's next for Minden?

After a quarter century of being governed by the same five town board members, Minden is facing big changes in the next few years.

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Friday that Chairman Ray Wilson and board member Bruce Jacobsen are ineligible to seek re-election in November. Two people will be appointed by the Douglas County Commission to take their place for the next four years.

There's a chance the size of the small community could double in 20-30 years if the Park Ranch project with almost 5,000 new houses is approved.

With those possibilities in mind, board members held a workshop on July 23 to lay the groundwork for the 102-year-old town's future.

"Even if the Park Ranch project is not approved, we're going to be bigger than Gardnerville," said town board member Bob Hadfield. "It's clear sooner or later, something is going through or there's going to be sagebrush, and water's going to be gone."

Hadfield said it would be "foolhardy" to count on Minden remaining the same size.

Currently, there are 1,398 homes in Minden with another 755 residences approved. If the Park Ranch project goes through, that would add 3,118 houses to Minden and 1,673 to Gardnerville.

"We would be neglecting our responsibility if we didn't leave some structure to build on," he said.

For more than 20 years, the town office has been managed by Sheila Byington who is resigning Aug. 29 because of a change in public employee benefits.

The 2007 Legislature passed Senate Bill 544 that eliminates the subsidized state retirement health care program known as the Public Employment Benefits Program for nonstate public employees.

Those who work for a local government like Douglas County or the Town of Minden could see a substantial increase in their health insurance rates in November.

The terms of Hadfield and members Ross Chichester and Dave Sheets expire in two years and they are ineligible for re-election.

The town elected to use Byington's retirement as an opportunity to restructure the office staff, with an eye toward hiring a town manager such Gardnerville did several years ago.

Board members asked to hear from county Human Resources Manager Darcy Worms about the parameter and salary structure of a town manager at their Aug. 6 meeting.

Salary range for Gardnerville's town manager is $72,000-$97,000.

The town manager would supervise the office staff that includes a senior secretary and accounting clerk.

"With the shakeup that's going to occur, we've got to have competent people," said board member Dave Sheets.

Board members are looking for someone to represent the interests of the town at meetings and follow through on Minden projects.

""I'm getting 'meetinged' to death," Hadfield said. "Everybody's busy. There's no continuity, no linkage. We need someone to be responsible for follow-up."

The board also is to hear the Park Ranch project next week, one night after Gardnerville considers the massive development.

Because of early voting in the CVIC Hall, the Minden board is to meet in the Douglas County commission chambers in the old Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.


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