The Mesquite city council has amended the city’s agreement with Mesquite Regional Business Inc. (MRB) to address the state attorney general decision that the organization was actually an arm of city government and subject to the open meeting law.
At the beginning of the hearing, Mayor Al Litman read a prepared letter on behalf of the city, supporting the work of MRB. “The intent of the agreement was and is for economic development to be handled by an independent non-city entity and the city doesn’t want any misunderstanding on this issue,” said Litman.
Litman emphasized that from the beginning the city wanted an independent contractor to provide economic development services. “An example of this is that MRB was paid for and created by private funds. By approving this amendment tonight, the city is restating that it does not want to control the economic development activities carried out by MRB,” said Litman.
Councilor Rich Green expressed his support for hiring an outside contractor because “I believe people experienced in chasing businesses” will do a better job doing economic development than the city. Green however, stated that he believed the city overpaid MRB during the early months of the contract as they had no staff hired and didn’t start operations immediately.
Green also stated that after the attorney general ruling was made “MRB should comply with the law and use carve-outs that are available to keep the confidentiality of business.”
Councilor George Rapson said he supported MRB because “None of the five of us sitting here have economic development experience.” Rapson also listed the economic development failures the city had before they hired MRB. “I think they [MRB] have done a heck of a job so far,” Rapson said but added, “If at the end of the day if there is no production there will be no MRB.”
Rapson also emphasized his belief that no business will share proprietary information with an organization subject to the open meeting law.
Councilor Kraig Hafen asked city liaison officer Aaron Baker if staff was “confident the AG will approve this?” Baker responded that the attorney for MRB was confident the amendments would meet the attorney general requirements.
The vote in favor of adopting the amendments was 4 to 1, with Green voting no.
In other business the council voted against granting a liquor license for the Salon Centenario located at 1646 West Pioneer Boulevard. The application was opposed by city police who said minors had been served alcohol at an event at the facility. The business can continue to operate but must contract with a licensed person if alcohol is to be served.
The council also approved a new agreement for effluent reuse with Oasis Golf Course and Falcon ridge.