Council hears economic development update

Courtney Sweetin, interim CEO of Mesquite Regional Business addressed the Mesquite City Council at its meeting March 13, providing an update of the public-private economic development partnership. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Without much transactional business on the agenda, the Mesquite City Council heard an update on economic development activity from the interim CEO of Mesquite Regional Business Courtney Sweetin at its Tuesday, March 13 meeting.

Sweetin advised the council that the previous CEO, Rachel Dahl, had recently taken a new job in northern Nevada. Therefore, the MRB Board of Directors was recruiting a new CEO who they would like to be in place by June 1.

Sweetin explained that while the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance provides an economic impact assessment for the businesses MRB successfully brings to Mesquite, she is working with the city finance department, business licensing and development services on a better system for tracking critical metrics.

In addition to the number of new jobs and average wages, the metrics would include the value of building permits and business licensing fees, increases in tax revenues, and capital investments made by the new businesses.

From 2007 to 2012 the city spent an average of $274,444 a year on in-house economic development activities. After MRB was formed as a public-private partnership with the city, an average of $171,250 has been spent on economic development.

As Councilman George Rapson pointed out at the end of the presentation, for the years the city did economic development in-house, “we didn’t have one single successful business.”

Sweetin reviewed the businesses that MRB has been instrumental in bringing to Mesquite including Eagles Landing travel center, Rising Star Sports Ranch, Deep Roots Harvest marijuana facility, and relocating ACT Auto Care.

She also said that two more successes for MRB should be breaking ground this year. REV Group, a recreational vehicle service facility, hopes to break ground on West Pioneer Boulevard in August. The Mission Senior Living Center is scheduled to begin construction on its facility near Mesa View Regional Hospital in May.

MRB has eight active prospects it’s working with to bring additional businesses to Mesquite. While Sweetin would not reveal the names of the businesses, they varied widely from a senior and workforce housing development to a distribution company, warehousing, child care facility, and a business who has already submitted a letter of intent to purchase 30 acres of city-owned property.

Sweetin said MRB has nine points for moving forward that include recruiting a new CEO, establishing better financial controls, working to bring natural gas to the city, streamlining transition periods between CEOS, leveraging technology to identify leads, targeting marketing efforts towards businesses currently located in California, activating its Small Business Development Center, upgrading its monthly reports to the city, and exploring a transition from being a 501c(6) taxable organization to a 501c(3) taxable entity that would allow it to accept grants and other charitable donations.

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