The future of the Pahrump Town Board is looking bleak.
Residents who want to turn the elected board into an advisory capacity led by about 300 votes late Tuesday evening.
"I felt strongly that 80 percent of the people would want to keep their local government," Pahrump Town Board Chairman Tom Waters said. "Looks like they want to dissolve it. I'm surprised to hear it."
Waters said the dispute started with disgruntled residents: "They didn't want us to spend any money."
The board makes decisions about spending money on items such as planning and roads.
In June, Bill Carns, chairman of the Nye County Republican Central Committee, headed a failed attempt at a citizen's arrest of three board members after they voted to repeal a town ordinance meant to complicate the process of incorporation.
Less than a month later, residents approached the Nye County Commission about eliminating the board altogether.
The ballot measure would downgrade the board to an advisory status, composed of appointees instead of elected officials. The board would no longer be able to make decisions about using public money and would only make recommendations to the Nye County Commission.
Waters welcomed the issue going to a vote of residents but doesn't agree with the way it was included on the ballot.
A petition could have put the question to a vote. But, Waters said, "The (Nye County) District Attorney said there weren't enough signatures to place it on the ballot. So the commission used its authority under (Nevada Revised Statutes) to place it on the ballot."
The commission unanimously approved the ballot measure July 3, reversing action it took last year when all but one commissioner opposed it.
Commissioner Gary Hollis said the commissioners did the right thing: "A large number of people were dissatisfied with the way the town board was conducting business. Let's find out what the public truly wants to do and let them make the decision."
Waters said the proposed initiative would dissolve the Pahrump Town Board after the incumbents finished their 2014 term. He said the advisory board wouldn't have the power to make "any real decisions."
If the county commission didn't like the suggestions of any advisory board member, he said, it could simply replace the board member.
"The town board hasn't done everything right," Waters said. "But it's a lot better than an advisory board."
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.