An announcement last month that Mesa View Regional Hospital (MVRH) would be discontinuing obstetric services dominated the public comment period of the Sept. 11 Mesquite City Council meeting.
Robert Fuller, MVRH Business Development Officer, had said the privately owned hospital was "seeking to discontinue obstetric services in response to the changing medical needs of Mesquite residents.
“For over a decade, the populations over the age of 65 and women of childbearing age have diverged significantly,” Fuller told the MLN last month. Retirement-age residents have increased while the number of women in their childbearing years has decreased.
“Reflecting this shift is a decline in babies born at Mesa View from a high of 236 in 2008 to a projected all-time low of 111 deliveries this year,” he added.
Fuller noted, “With the approval of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, the medical staff and hospital leadership, we will seek the support of the Mesquite City Council to have the flexibility in the care offered to members of the Mesquite community. A closure date has not been set.”
Fuller had told the MLN that Dr. Edward Ofori, Mesquite's only OB-Gyn physician, still would have access to the hospital facility for in-patient gynecological services. But labor and delivery services would only be available for emergencies.
Ten people, including Ofori’s wife, Dr. Teresa Ofori, who owns the Cosmopolitan Dental Clinic, complained about the negative effect the proposed closure would have on the community. Her husband did not address the council.
“I come to you two-fold this evening,” Ofori said, “first as a business owner in Mesquite and also as a woman.”
She said she had her third child at MVRH and praised the obstetrics unit and staff.
“But believe me when I say, doctors are not flocking to Mesquite. They really aren’t. It takes a lot for a young doctor to come to a small, small town.
For the hospital to give up a service that’s greatly needed is a step backward for the city and its businesses.
“I am a business owner and I love it here,” she said, admitting that at first she had doubts about living in Mesquite, “but I jumped onboard. I just can’t imagine living anywhere else. I hope the council will consider a contract with the hospital and the city. And I hope you put it on the agenda to discuss.”
The issue would need to be placed on the agenda for the council to deliberate it. But during public comment, the mayor and councilmen could only listen.
They heard praise for Dr. Ofori’s OB-Gyn services and the hospital, with several people giving their own personal experiences.
But Roberta Franco with the Mesquite office of the Salvation Army spoke about other people’s needs.
“A lot of Mesquite’s population does not make enough to have their own insurance,” she noted. Nor do they have the ability to travel back and forth to St. George, Utah, or Las Vegas.
Another speaker noted a Facebook page has been established for people who want to support keeping the obstetrics unit open. Its address is http://www.facebook.com/groups/labordeliverymesquite/
Turning to action items on the agenda, the council unanimously approved a settlement with Lincoln County, ending a dispute about a proposal to include part of Lincoln County into Mesquite City Limits.
In fall 2010, C&O Holdings, LLC, had requested its proposed development located in Lincoln County to become part of Mesquite City. The council passed Ordinance 439 on Nov. 9, 2010, to annex the area. But C&O also asked to have an adjacent area annexed into the city that also was located within neighboring Lincoln County. That was done Jan. 11, 2011.
Lincoln County sued in December 2010 to have the action voided.
After months of negotiations, tentative settlements were reached that have been on Mesquite City Council agendas twice, but were pulled both times.
The settlement approved Sept. 11 includes C&O requesting its property be detached from Mesquite. Neither party in the suit admits any liability and all parties will pay their own attorney fees and other costs.
The council also was unanimous in clearing the way for a new business to open in town.
Faith Development, LLC, plans to build a Dollar General Store at 342 W. Mesquite Blvd. The council voted to abandon two unused sewer easements on the property and to grant a variance to allow a reduction in parking spaces from 45 to 29.
Councilman George Rapson, who seconded Councilman Kraig Hafen’s motion to grant the variance, said, “Our (parking) restrictions are onerous.”
The council also was unanimous in passing a conditional use permit for the Mesquite Trading Post pawn shop to relocate from the Town & Country Village Plaza to 424 Riverside Road.
Anthem at Mesquite in the Prominence Subdivision Unit 1, Phase 1B, received approval to add 22 lots to the subdivision by reconfiguring streets and reducing lot sizes. The area is located along Flat Top Mesa Drive and west of the Pulsipher Wash.
The council also agreed for Falcon Ridge Golf Course to transfer it effluent reuse agreement for golf course irrigation to Z Golf, LLC, out of Utah.
In other business, the council unanimously adopted Ordinance No. 462 to amend Section 4, Chapter 3, of Title 5 of the police regulations in the city code. The amendment reflects changes in the Nevada Revised Statutes, which requires delinquent minors, or their parents or guardians or both, to provide restitution to victims damaged by the minors in committing a crime. The restitution, however, does not protect the minor or guardians from being sued to recover damages.
The council also heard the first reading of a proposed ordinance, Bill No. 461.
The ordinance would bring the city code into compliance with NRS 702.220, which sets energy standards for new construction. The Nevada Legislature has adopted the 2009 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, which went into effect on July 1, 2012. The city must also adopt the code.
Bill No. 466 also was introduced to the council. The amendment to the city code would allow residential use in commercial zones. Residences located in commercial zones are allowed under the code, but they are listed as “legal nonconforming.” The property owners may not expand nor rebuild without city approval. Ordinance No. 466 would permit existing residential uses in commercial zones without requiring city approval.
Both bills are to be heard and voted upon at the Mesquite City Council’s Sept. 25 meeting.
The council also agreed to renew the solicitor’s license for Terrence Luzier, who represents Baja Broadband. Winder Farms was granted new solicitor licenses for Tanner Johnson, Kari Hartman, Eric Carlson, Andy Baker and Michael Falvo. And Yesenia Ramirez was granted a Category B, Class II, second-hand dealer license to operate the Betel Thrift Store at 440 Riverside Road.