Lets Talk Splash Pad

Even before the official opening of the newly constructed splash pad, the folks at a local blog are, per usual, finding fault with our local government, how we do business, how contracts are given out, the pioneer families, the Mormon Church, the splash pad, of course, and whatever displeases them at the moment.  Throw in Cliven Bundy for good measure, and we’re set to go.

It would be easy to ignore them as they and their supporters make up a miniscule percentage of our residents.  However, when my name is mentioned or members of my staff are commented about in the negative, I must respond.

The history of the splash pad goes back a number of years prior to this administration, but we inherited the plan, paid for by a CDBG grant from HUD.  It was awarded to Mesquite for a specific project, in a specific part of town, meant to serve a specific population.  The Federal government makes no exceptions.  Did we really need this project?  Maybe, maybe not.  If you’re an adult, no.  If you are a child, yes.  Nonetheless, we inherited it and short of giving all the money back so another community who would reap the benefits, we decided to move forward.  Was it costly? Yes.  Let me try and explain why.

The project, as presented, was more expensive than I thought it should be, until I factored in the Nevada Prevailing Wage Law.  I’m going to paraphrase from the Nevada Legislative Bureau on why this came about along with some direct information about Nevada’s Revised Statutes that mandates these extra costs.

“Prevailing Wage Law” is a common term used for the Davis-Bacon Act.  This act is a Federal law that requires contractors who are awarded bids for Federal public works projects, in this case, the CDBG grant, to pay their workers a minimum wage, “that will be determined by the Secretary of Labor to be the prevailing wage for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the city, town, village, or other civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed.”

Nevada Revised Statute 338.030 specifies the procedures to be followed by the Labor Commission in establishing prevailing wages for each county and those wages must be paid on all public works projects that are subject to the statutes.  Guess what? The splash pad was one of those projects.  It drives up the labor costs beyond belief for projects over $100,000.  This is the main reason we have nearly a million dollar project.  As I recall, the average worker on this project was paid around $70.00 per hour and this is not open for negotiation.  Of course the contractor makes money, but the many workers do very well also.

Our blogger wants to know how this project translates into enhancing economic development.  High-paid workers spend money in the community and families with young children tend to locate when possible where there are amenities for their children.  Community development is economic development, period.

The whole point of this article is just to bring to light the fact that no matter what we do as a city and government there are those few in the community that will never be happy.  They criticize, rarely compliment, and offer no better solutions to most of what we do.

In conclusion, the splash pad is not perfect, but what makes perfect?  The splash pad is not a Hafen/Tanner plot.  You may not agree with either individual; that’s your right, but those who criticize without knowledge of the facts should examine their own standards of conduct.  What might have been done by past administrations should not reflect on the present.  My staff conducts themselves with the highest standards of integrity as well as all members of this City Council.  I’m sure that when the next project comes up to better Mesquite the same people will be out on a witch-hunt.

By the way, we will be building a shade cover for visitors; the water is recirculating and checked often.  It is state of the art equipment with the safety of the children being our main concern.  The fence is required by the Southern Nevada Health District and everything meets or exceeds code.


  1. The splash pad is not safe as children are slipping daily and hitting their heads. My children alone have hit their heads multiple times. Pretty much knocked my child out and we had to rush him to the ER. There needs to be better ground so the kids don’t slip. Yes it states NO RUNNING but tell your kid that. They all run. Its very dangerous.

  2. Lois Albrand says:

    I think that this a great idea for the children of Mesquite NV, parents don’t have a lot of money to take them to the arcade or money for bowling, and with being free, great idea, thank you for the idea of moving it to the Hafen Trail park. I know for a fact that my neighbor kids are excited to be able to go and enjoy the water. Thank you for all the hard work in putting it in.

  3. I really want to point out again that this is for kids. Not adults or retired adults. Go to the casinos or golfing or whatever you like. But mesquite has nearly nothing for our children. The playgrounds are too hot during the summer to touch. As a single mom, I’m super excited to have somewhere safe to take my little boy. Unless you’re a parent, leave it alone. Let our kids have something, you greedy jerks.

  4. Morgan jobst says:

    my friend and I took our 14 month old boys to the splash pad last week and I am so happy with it. I love how big it is and I love that it has both the river and sprinklers. I was so happy to see the town doing something for the younger families in our community. I think that after the shade is out up that the mesquite splash pad will rival the st George splash pad. Thank you for giving our youth a fun outlet for their energy!

  5. karen beardsley says:

    Thank you Mayor, like you said most of the time we only hear the complainers but they need to stop and think about who does the work in this town on the golf courses and casinos and HOA’s…mostly young people who have children and the one way to keep these workers in Mesquite is to have something for their children to do. The summers are long and hot so children go an enjoy!

  6. Carol Thatcher says:

    I noticed a dog running loose and pooping right next to the fence and no one was responsible for the dog.

  7. Teirsa Plum says:

    My kids and I love the splash pad! It’s awesome and we love the layout and design of it. The lazy river was such a great idea! If you don’t like it, don’t visit it. Simple as that. I’m glad something in this town is finally about the kids and family… Each time we’ve gone it’s been filled with kids laughing and playing, it’s a great sight to see!! Thank you!

  8. Ive been to a few of these in my life time and they have always had some sort or rubber or just texture on the ground so that our kids don’t slip. I couldn’t tell you how many times my son fell especially next to the drains. They need to make it more safe. Just cause I tell my two year old not to run doesn’t mean he won’t. Before someone gets seriously injured please fix this

  9. Mayor Litman is somewhat misleading in his comments. He forgot to mention that the CDC grant required matching funds from local taxpayers.He forgot to mention that even CDC money is taxpayer dollars that should not be spent unwisely. He forgot to mention that Davis-Bacon is nationwide and it was passed in 1931. No excuse for not understanding construction costs this piece of legislation given the number of contracts given out by the city over the years. He did not go into detail about how the contract bids were solicited, advertised and eventually awarded. By the way, it was Litman who did a survey of other splash pad efforts and found the local costs excessive. They other splash pad also had to comply with Davis-Bacon.

    He did not mention the councils support for cutting Gold Butte in half and allowing unrestricted motor vehicle traffic that damages the land, endangered species, and vegetation. He avoids any mention of the potential health hazards associated with the dust created by these unrestrained vehicles. He brings up Pioneer families and Mormons. However, he avoids mentioning how often some of these individuals threaten others who disagree with some of their land and water deals and then hide behind such slogans as “you just hate Mormons.” He forgot to mention that he and the council used taxpayer dollars defending Bundy’s anti-government land gap legislation. He forgot to mention that he and the city council ignored threats to BLM personnel from Ryan Bundy.
    He also fails to mention that there are hundreds of individuals commenting on the “blog” he refers. On Bundy alone in one year, 12 authors wrote 59 stories where 200 individuals commented some 3,645 times. Further, it is an open forum where anyone can express their opinion. What galls him and the council most, is that people express their opinions and he and the council members do not like being called to account for their decisions.

    The Mayor and City Council are not immune from criticism. Questionable pay raises, unwise spending on the MRB, budget shortfalls, potential open meeting law violations, questionable hiring and bidding practices, a failure to deal with health hazards in Casinos. The list is long and troublesome.

    We must remember that neither the Mayor nor City Council represents a majority of registered voters (let alone the majority of the people) in this community primary because a majority does not vote. They ignored the majority opinion that smoking should be banned in casinos. One of them simply said that the government should not tell the private sector what to do.
    At best Litman, Withelder, Delaney, Rapson, and Hafen represent a small minority, many of whom are enticed to vote through social and religious relationships. Indeed, the individuals representing the majority are speaking on the blog and disclosing concerns and making comments that put their actions before the public for discussion. That is good for the community, bad for the Mayor and Council.

  10. It’s about time for a splash pad. Hopefully, the users will monitor it and make sure behavior is on par with expectations.

  11. P L Lane says:

    Mr . Mayor,
    Thanks for responding to those who question the cost and suitability of the new splash pad.
    I understand most preliminary decisions were made before your time. I am confused though about your referral to the Davis-Bacon Act. You state ” This act is a Federal law that requires contractors who are awarded bids for Federal public works projects, in this case, the CDBG grant, to pay their workers a minimum wage, “that will be determined by the Secretary of Labor to be the prevailing wage for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the city, town, village, or other civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed.”
    Then you stated the average worker was paid $70.00 an hour! Is that the minimum wage for just government (taxpayer)funded jobs? Are all similar laborers paid 70.00 an hour? Or is there an entirely different minimum wage when it is a private company footing the bill? I don’t think there are many employers in Mesquite paying workers making 70.00/hr prevailing wages so how does the Secretary of Labor come up with that figure? I’m not arguing ….just confused. .. .
    My real complaint is the fact that the Cadillac version pushed hard by Tanner and passed by council was done at time when the city was “bleeding” in financial crisis mode. Why was there no real push for fiscal responsibility? Council should have been approved a splash pad that cost no more than the grant allowed. It makes no sense to spend future money the city does not yet have because it will cost more to do it in stages! If anything the city should be setting an example by living within its means. I am all for the idea of having projects for the children in Mesquite but………the city should have gone ahead with the Ford version that was within their budget at the time and added upgrades down the line when money became available. To do otherwise reeks of squeezing the taxpayer needlessly and recklessly.

  12. Thank you so much for the wonderful splash pad! My one concern is the pebbles that are at the park. I noticed that there was some in the splash pad. Wondering if that could damage the water features? They could also make kids slip and fall. Maybe removing them and putting something else may save you time on matance.

  13. Bon Kruder says:

    Hi Al,
    Labeling concerned citizens with legitimate concerns as malcontents is inappropriate, and all of you work for US. This is about OUR tax dollars and OUR town. Look at how beautiful Hugh’s Middle School is, architecturally and the hard scape/landscape is lovely. This project was mishandled. The results are very disappointing. This is my 2nd attempt to comment. Maybe I’m being silenced. Hope not.

  14. Dena Hoff says:

    I think this is great! I’ve enjoyed watching my grand kids and a lot of other kids playing in a place for them. Thank you City of Mesquite. The shades will be nice too.

  15. Elaine Hurd says:

    The blog being referred to by Mayor Litman is Let’s Talk Nevada, an open Opinion and Information website. I am the editor of the unsolicited piece submitted by a citizen who did not like the finished splash pad built with nearly a million dollars of taxpayer funds. It lacks imagination, has no shade, is surrounded by a chain link fence and readers are reporting the surface is slippery and kids are being injured. I sat through several city council meetings where the splash pad was discussed, including the one whereby then councilman Litman questioned the cost and initially voted against it. The local contractor who was entitled to win the job was furious, former Mayor Mark Wier threw a tantrum (illegally vetoing the no vote), Kraig Hafen and George Rapson were visibly agitated. I also listened to how outside contractors did not bid on this job – yet LTN received unsolicited correspondence from a contractor who built splash pads in 20+ states and questioned the city’s bidding process. Instead of being indignant that taxpayers aren’t impressed by this over-priced, underwhelming, mediocre final product – maybe Mayor Litman should concern himself with the safety of the kids and review the city’s bidding process so contractors outside of the city will bid because they know they have a fair chance of winning the job. Shouldn’t he want the best contractors at the best price? Can Mayor Litman honestly say a million dollar contract would have been awarded to a contractor outside of Mesquite who may have produced something better? For the record, I was in favor of a splash pad for the kids but questioned the price, the scope and awarding the bid to the same local company lacking expertise in this area. To blame the cost on prevailing wage is disingenuous when the contractor likely made a pretty profit. Maybe Mayor Litman and others in city leadership should listen a little more closely to what citizens are saying instead of dismissing those who want the city to do better. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due – but I can’t look at that splash pad and say – whoa great job – anymore than I appreciate that eyesore of a metal trailer on Mesquite Boulevard called “The Splash Pad” that the city also approved.

  16. Jim Welker says:

    My young granddaughters are out for the summer; they’ve only been here for a little over a week and we’ve already been to the park twice. They had a blast and we’ll be going back again in a couple days. There isn’t a lot for young kids to do in this town and we need more places like this to get them away from the TV & video games…

  17. The splash pad is a wonderful addition to our community and its about time we bring something for families to enjoy. My only minor compliant is the shade issue but I see that is going to be addressed soon 🙂 Now for those parents complaining about their kids falling please be productive and find solutions to keep your child from slipping. Ask yourself these questions… What kind of footwear is my child wearing? Is it appropriate (meaning is it slip resistant) for the activities they are partaking in? Did you know you can purchase slip resistant sandals for children? Just remember that no matter what children are children and boo boos are bound to happen. As a parent you just need to prepare yourself for such events and try to prevent them the best you can. Remember rely on yourself not the government to keep your children safe and harm free 🙂

  18. Ralph Drake says:

    Prevailing wage rates include (a) The basic hourly rate of pay; and (b) The amount of pension, health and welfare, vacation and holiday pay, the cost of apprenticeship training or other similar programs or other bona fide fringe benefits which are a
    benefit to the workman.
    Al when you say the prevailing wage is $70 that is very unclear to the average citizen. the actual prevailing wage ranges from $16.84 for a Fence Installer To $72.64 for a General Foreman. Remember that the employee does not get that, the fringe benefits are paid to a third party in the name of the workman, they include, vacation, sick leave, holiday pay, healthcare. To be paid as directed by the employment contract that the employee works under. There are other expenses that are included in the prevailing wage that are not paid to the employee, but include apprenticeship training, and other boda fide expenses.
    The common way that the worker calculates their pay is to multiply their hourly wage by the hours worked, most do not even think about any of the fringes as part of their wage.
    The employee says I make $12.00 a hour.
    The employer says each employee costs me $18.00 a hour.
    both are correct.
    As to the slippery surfaces, telling parents to watch their kids will not stop a lawyer from making a good case to reimburse, a family for medical expenses.

Speak Your Mind