To the Editor,
The Ely City Council has taken on a massive task, that being the investigation into the financial irregularities of the N. N. Railroad and Management Board. This issue has driven a huge wedge into the community. The pro-railroad folk see it as the City trying to close the railroad, while the Council sees it as trying to hold back a towering wave of debt. A debt so large, that the City and its citizens will eventually have to pay for.
For months and months, the council has repeatedly requested financial information, only to be ignored by Mr. Bassett. Why? Why were road blocks tossed before the council, when it could have been so much easier for all involved to provide ALL the information requested? If there is NOTHING TO HIDE, then be forthcoming and place the blame on the council.
Why are the RR Board and Mr. Bassett meeting daily with their lawyers? Is this to make sure that everyone has the same story? If the council were to meet behind closed doors, they would be busted (or recalled) for violating the open meeting law.
Although I feel that the Councils actions at the railroad offices could have been handled differently, I also believe, that had they waited longer, there would have been no documents left to retrieve. Mr. Bassett’s actions when it comes to document handling, causes one to wonder what has happened and what might happen next.
Would the Mayor and City Council pursue this investigation on a whim? Would they take the verbal beating, they’re getting now, if there wasn’t something amiss?
To The Editor,
As I was driving home from a conference last Friday, I noticed that three cars had pulled off the road on the outskirts of Ely. At first I was concerned, and then I saw the reason. The steam train was coming! Cameras were out, ready to capture the moment!
This is why people come to Ely! This is why we MUST keep our trains hugging the rails! If people want to see trains “dry docked” they could visit the museums in Huber or Golden Colorado. Their collections are far more extensive. No, they come to see these giant beauties as they are meant to be seen. Let’s keep it that way.
Vote—it’s your future!
City of Ely resident
To The Editor
Watching the events in Ely unfold it is truly sad to see how these events have unfolded as the actions of the participants often ignore the true issue of what is the condition and the future of this national treasure? While the events make for great drama, the same events are hurting the railroad and the community. In discussions with some of the volunteers at the railroad who in my opinion have given both the railroad and the community the best of their efforts are disheartened and disgruntled over the events.
Rumors fly and the line between fact and fiction are at best blurred and at worst obliterated. So the question they are asking themselves is why am I donating this if the future of the property is uncertain? Is what I have donated up to this point going to be simply thrown out? No matter how this passionate disagreement ends what pieces will be left what can be done to heal the wounds created by this series of events and more importantly who will set personal views aside and work to better the railroad and the community?
It is important for everyone to remember that if the railroad closes Ely looses a great piece of history found nowhere else in the US. If the railroad is managed with an understanding of what makes the Nevada Northern unique, and with the best interest of the railroad and the community in mind then the Nevada Northern has the potential to be a great asset of the community and something everyone can be proud of..
To the Editor:
The City is responsible for the railroad’s debt!
The City cannot carry that much debt. The last report I’ve seen was over a million dollars.
If people are truly interested in saving NNRy, they will get behind the good people we voted in. Let them do their job in protecting the city’s financial well being, and getting the NNRy on solid financial ground.
I believe that We The People, i.e. (taxpayers) in Ely have every right to know what NNRy’s debt is because We The People will be the ones paying it.
As Red Green says, Remember, I’m pullin’ for ya, we’re all in this together.
To the Editor:
The mayor and city council members have repeatedly expressed their concern over the railroad’s indebtedness—“nearly $600,000” according to the mayor. Other figures cited are even higher, and scarier.
Here are the facts.
$472,500=the railroad’s liabilities (loans, accounts payable, grant commitments, deferred income, etc.). This figure, by the way, is $166,000 less than it was one year ago.
$2,500,000=unrestricted net assets, which can be used to pay off debt should this ever become necessary. This figure covers the liabilities by more than sixteen times.
$8,000,000=the railroad’s total equity.
The S&S “debt of $750,000” is actually $347,000. According to the contract, half of this debt will be absorbed by S&S and the other half will be paid to S&S once rental income if generated—if there is no rental income, the city’s payments ($170,000) will be deferred.
To insinuate that the city may have to bail the railroad out at great cost to the taxpayers is misleading and untrue. Statements like these seem designed to frighten people into believing that the taxpayers will soon have to shoulder a huge railroad debt. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The bottom line here is that the railroad has a financial report prepared and presented at every single board meeting. Its books are looked at on a monthly basis by a certified public accountant, and corrections are made as necessary. These monthly reports are available upon request, and show a healthy and stable financial situation.
Contrast this practice with the city council’s recent history. The city council has not received a financial report in at least eight months. Now that’s a real “red flag”.