Council wades through tension

Tuesday’s council meeting should have been pretty open and shut. The items on the agenda didn’t appear to present any conflict or extenuating circumstances.

Mayor Al Litman presents GMAF President Maggie Calhoun with the Council’s proclamation designating October as Arts Month. Photo by Stephanie Frehner.

Mayor Al Litman presents GMAF President Maggie Calhoun with the Council’s proclamation designating October as Arts Month. Photo by Stephanie Frehner.

Council and staff quickly moved through the first few items with little trouble, including the rezoning of a portion of W Hafen Lane from Residential to Light Industrial, to allow the land owners, KT Legacy, LLC, to build a storage facility. With the space in question being surrounded by flood zone, Development Services Director Richard Secrist said that allowing the change would be better. “We really don’t need any houses on that side of the road with it being so close to the river,” he said. “There have been multiple attempts for public hearing from the surrounding residents and no one has shown any opposition to it, therefore, we recommend the rezoning be approved.” The motion, Resolution 836, passed.

Resolution 841 was also presented, seeking a change in agreement from the Southern Nevada Health District’s lease agreement. In the past the SNHD has leased through another company. The resolution amended that, allowing the SNHD to lease their building at 830 W Hafen Lane directly from the city. Again, the motion was passed.

Chief Tanner approached the dais during public comment, commending the dedication his department has in light of Monday’s power outage.

“One thing I would like to point out,” he said, “is that back in the day we didn’t used to have lights at intersections and everything was a four-way stop. If there are no lights, treat it as a four-way stop.”

He noted that overall, there were very few accidents. “Everyone worked very well together, and we’re proud of that,” he added.

Public Works director Bill Tanner also praised the Police Department, acknowledging that “we [the city] can’t do it all; they helped tremendously… considering all that we were hit with, we were extremely lucky.”

Fire Chief Kash Christopher also made his report to the council, noting that extra crew had to be called in. “We had just had a crew leave for a transfer to Dixie and needed the extra manpower just in case.”

“We helped the PD out with traffic control, Bunkerville’s Chief Mike Wilson worked with us, it was an overall success,” he said.

Several council members added their appreciation to the work the crews from all departments devoted to keeping Mesquite rolling through the dark, as did an abundant applause from the audience.

The mood in the room changed rather quickly thereafter, with the next item on the agenda regarding a site plan change for a section of Conestoga Ranch in Sun City.

Residents Ross and Debbie Miller claim they have been dealing with the Pulte Homes/Del Webb development administration regarding the proposal of a temporary turnaround at the entry to the model homes, near the Miller’s home.

“The design being presented just won’t work,” said Ross Miller. “It seems they are doing whatever they can to inconvenience the residents.”

According to materials from Secrist, “Staff helped facilitate discussions between Pulte and the home owners to find a compromise “win-win” solution by installing a temporary turnaround, and by pushing the gate and fence back further to facilitate backing maneuvers. But as talks ran on, it became apparent that getting approval on all points would be difficult with all the home owners in the subdivision, so Pulte asked that the existing and proposed improvements be brought to City Council for approval.”

After heated discussion from the Millers and Pulte’s representative John Schippert and several questions from council, Councilman Hafen motioned that this item be tabled for a month, to allow all involved parties time to resolve the issues.

The final task of the evening for the council was to award a contract for the construction of the Exit 118 Interchange.

Previously, a five-person committee had received bids from several companies wanting the bid on the design and construction process. Through a points system, city staff recommended that the contract be awarded to Horrocks Engineers, a corporation that has several offices from Idaho to Arizona.

Representatives from Horrocks Engineers and Bulloch Brothers Engineering both presented statements on why they should be chosen. Both sides had several of their employees present.

BBE representatives pleaded that this project is what they have been waiting for, to stay local. They suggested that an interview process also be used for deciding which company was a better fit for the city and the project.

Horrocks’ representatives also claimed that they were just as local as BBE, although their offices are in St. George and Las Vegas, because they use other local firms for different portions of the project.

The council’s discomfort could be seen a mile away, with Councilman Rapson stating that “there is a system in place, and we have to follow that system. We don’t want to mess with the process; it’s there for a reason.”

Councilwoman Delaney then remarked that “Maybe if we don’t like the process, we should see about changing it. But for now we have to stick with the process.”

She then proceeded to motion in favor to City Staff’s recommendation of awarding the contract to Horrocks. After several more comments from both engineering teams during the final public comment section, the meeting was adjourned.

 

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