To the Editor:
Mayor Al Litman in a letter to the paper, (Mesquite Local News 10/10/14) expressed concern over the financial future of Mesquite, and asked for solutions.
The solution is balance. Mesquite has far too much residential development to commercial development. Allowing the continued expansion of residential construction without an equal commercial sector to balance the revenue equation is what will eventually bankrupt the city.
After the initial revenue of building permits and material use tax is collected on residential construction, that sector becomes a long term drain financially. A city survives on the continued collection of money from room taxes, retail sales taxes, and other business fees. With the loss of the Oasis Resort the room tax revenue took a big hit, and with the continued closing of retail operations in Mesquite, sales tax collection diminishes.
Mesquite has let the residential sector develop far too large in relation to a business base. Small businesses will find no need for their respective services in Mesquite when a better alternative exists with large selections and lower prices in St. George and Las Vegas. Snow birds only occupying their homes 6 months out of a year further reduce the ability for retail growth.
A quiet residential community is an oxymoron. Without businesses to fund ongoing city services, a city long term cannot exist. The other problem a small town like Mesquite is facing is the ever growing internet shopping phenomena. Huge selections and the ease of having it delivered to your door step even makes going to St. George seem silly to many. That revenue source is completely bypassing the collection plate for Mesquite.
Unfortunately unless the City of Mesquite can implement an ongoing tax on residences here, then it must slow the residential growth until a viable business base can be established. That is NOT business that pay $8 to $12 per hour, but real business that pay living wages and offer benefits. The city needs to attract a younger working age populace that are here full time working at a business that pays a living wage. Attract the business first, and then build the houses necessary for the workers. A purely untaxed residential retirement community, unfortunately, is not economic reality.
Solution Simple, But Unpopular
To the Editor: