Usually all the action at Mesquite City Council meetings are the action items on the agenda. That wasn’t the case Nov. 27.
Mayor Mark Wier dropped his bomb during his comments. The city may seek a new source for its electrical power.
Wier said he wanted to “address an issue that affects each and every one of us.
As a community we have no competitive source for power. As a result, we’re beholden to Overton Power to ensure we’re getting power at the best possible rates.”
Overton Power District (OPD) is operated as a general improvement district with an elected board to set rates and policies. A recent increase in power rates caused turmoil in Mesquite, with the city council asking the OPD to hold meetings in Mesquite, the source of the majority of its customers, instead of at its headquarters in Moapa. The OPD board has agreed to hold a meeting in its Mesquite office, 731 Turtleback Road, when it meets on Jan. 16, 4 p.m., to select a new direct to represent Mesquite (see rated story about the OPD and a Nevada Open Meeting Law dispute).
But the issues go beyond where meetings are held.
“I think it’s time for us as a community to look at additional power sources to ensure competitive rates,” Wier said. “Therefore I am asking the city manager (Andy Barton) to initiate conversations with alternative power suppliers to determine the feasibility of having additional suppliers on the city of Mesquite.”
Wier gave no time line for when he expected those conversations to begin.
The meeting began with public comments. Two residents who live along Leavitt Lane said they were upset that no action has been taken on establishing a city ordinance to control loud noises. Their neighborhood sits behind the CasaBlanca Casino Resort, which during the summer holds evening concerts at its outdoor pool. Some residents have complained about the noise and lack of consideration and cooperation from casino management.
The residents were told the council was to take up the issue in October and again in November, but no action has been taken. Adding to the noise problem, one of the residents complained about car events, where burnouts and drag racing get held on Leavitt Lane.
The police arrive when called, but the offending vehicles have left the scene. The suggestion was when such events are held, the CasaBlanca should be forced to pay the Mesquite Police Department to provide on-site security.
Under Nevada’s Open Meeting Law, the council can hear any complaints during comments, but is not allowed to respond or deliberate on the item.
Although that was the case with the Leavitt Lane complaints, after Wier’s comments about a new power supplier, City Attorney Cheryl Hunt gave an update on the city’s efforts to draft a noise ordinance.
She said before an ordinance could be drafted, a machine to accurately measure the volume of noise must be used.
“A machine arrived this week and the Mesquite Police Department is testing it,” she said. “This is not a process the (city) staff can rush.”
She explained to prosecute those who violate a noise ordinance, the city attorney’s office must “prove beyond reasonable doubt” that the noise exceeded the permissible decibels.
She explained that before the council can consider a city ordinance the process must conform with NRS 237.080 which mandates businesses which would be affected by any proposed rules be allowed to “submit data or arguments to the governing body or its designee as to whether the proposed rule will: (a) Impose a direct and significant economic burden upon a business; or (b) Directly restrict the formation, operation or expansion of a business.”
She estimated the information should all be collected and the proposed ordinance come before the council at its Jan. 22, 2013, meeting.
Nor was the good news announced by Councilman Geno Withelder an action item. During his portion of the council comment period, Withelder, who serves as chairman of the Virgin Valley Little League effort to establish the program here, said, “ We’ve received our charter from Little League International a couple of days ago and also received our 501c3 (the IRS tax-exempt status). We are now up and operational. We’ll be operational in April, and that’s good news.”
But other expected good news that was on the agenda was tabled until the Dec. 11 meeting.
After the announcement on Oct. 9 that the 2013 Re/Max World Long Drivers Championship would not be held in Mesquite because the Mesquite Resort Association had pulled its support, the city council and mayor spearheaded an effort to find additional support to keep the long-term event in Mesquite
The 2013 competition is to get broader television coverage with the Golf Channel and NBC planning to cover it. The Golf Channel plans to produce four shows documenting the event and a live broadcast of the finals. Previously the coverage was two days over Christmas.
The publicity for Mesquite in 2012 is estimated to be comparable to almost $4 million in TV advertising.
The council was to vote on providing an additional $10,000 in support to the $40,000 it has provided for the past two years. But Wier announced at the start of the meeting that the issue was tabled until Dec. 11.
The council did take action on several items and approved:
- A Deed of Dedication, as part of its consent agenda, granting the right of way to the Nevada Department of Transportation for the West Mesquite Interchange, Exit 120, to be built in the future.
- The annual audit by Hinton, Burdick & Spilker. Mike Spilker told the council the audit was unqualified or a “clean opinion.”
- Cancellation of a sale of defaulted property because the owner paid in full before the proposed sale date.
- A tentative map for five lots in the Mesquite Technology & Commerce Center on West Pioneer Boulevard near Lower Flat Top Mesa Drive.
- A five-year enhancement plan for the 911system and Centurylink Sales Solutions, Inc., to provide it.
- A Dec. 11 public hearing to review Bill No. 456 which establishes new rules for fireworks within the city limits.