Randy Laub appointed to fill board vacancy

Blowout of a 10-inch waterpipe caused a large pavement washout
on Greens Way. About 150 feet of asphalt must be replaced.

The Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors made quick work of appointing Randy Laub to the seat vacated when Barbara Ellestad resigned from the board at the close of the April 3 meeting.

Longtime Mesquite resident Laub won a unanimous 4-0 vote on the board’s first ballot during its May 1 meeting. Laub was chosen from a field of four residents who also included Sandra Ramaker, Jere Walker and Gary Elgort.

Laub is parks superintendent for the City of Mesquite, responsible for the maintenance of Mesquite’s sports fields, parks and other public venues. He will be sworn in at the next board meeting May 22 and holds the seat through the term that ends Dec. 31.

Clearing up conflicting language in the contract negotiated with Conestoga Golf Course at its April 24 meeting, the VVWD board voted to accept two revisions that clarified the length of the contract and adding a clause to hold Conestoga’s price for leased water shares to 90 percent of “fair market value” until 2036, or until SNWA pays $4 million for the water it leased from VVWD in 2014. Conestoga agreed to immediately return 50 water shares to VVWD, which will now be leased to Southern Nevada Water Authority for $1,246 per share.

The renegotiated contract allows VVWD to maximize its revenue for those unused shares that had been leased to Conestoga for $250 per share through 2019. In return, Conestoga will lease 100 water shares through 2036, starting at $650 per share in 2020, with that rate increasing 10 per cent per year until its rate reaches 90 per cent of the “fair market rate” paid by SNWA, which will occur by 2026. VVWD will also guarantee adequate water for Conestoga golf course operations, up to 150 water shares per year, during the life of the new contract.

VVWD lobbyist Warren Hardy addressed the board, soliciting legislative issues the district might wish to present during the next state legislative session. Hardy has worked on behalf of both VVWD and the City of Mesquite for a number of years.

In operational reports, district hydrologist Aaron Baker announced that authorization has been received for outfitting well 1A, and work will go forward immediately. He also stated that work has started in replacing the pump on well 31 that failed three weeks ago. At this time, five of Mesquite’s six wells are operating, and there has been no interruption of water service to district customers because of the failed well.

District manager Kevin Brown briefly commented on the 10-inch water line blowout that occurred last week on Greens Way, buckling about 150 feet of pavement and causing some damage to landscaping at a private resident. The break in the line was repaired quickly, but the street repair will go out for bid this coming week and will cause partial closure of the street that serves about 20 residences. Local traffic will be redirected to Hardy Way via an emergency gate during the street repair process.

District finance officer Wes Smith provided the highlight of the meeting with his announcement that the district’s 2008 bond has been paid off. This long-anticipated bond retirement allows VVWD to reduce its highly unpopular debt service surcharge by 70 cents per user per month. Each user will now see a charge of $9.30 on the monthly bill, rather than the $10 fee collected since 2015.

Smith was visibly pleased to announce that good news, along with reporting that the weighted interest rate on VVWD bonds had been reduced to 2.32 percent, about half of its original rate. VVWD has paid off more than $13 million in bonds since 2011. The VVWD final budget for FY2019 will be submitted to the State by the end of May.

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