In a rough run through of the April 14 Regular City Council Meeting during their tech review on April 7, council members had a thing or two to say about several of the items on the agenda, which included the allowance of discussions with the Las Vegas Clark County Library (LVCCL) about building a new library facility at the empty city-owned property located at 105 W. Mesquite Boulevard, adjacent to the current library. The proposal set forth by LVCCL would be to build a 16,000 square foot facility on the land that the City had purchased for an overpriced 3.2 acres in 2009. At that time, according to the Assessor’s record, the City paid $1,717,000 that October for the same reason, for the library to build new facilities. However, with the downturn in the economy, the project was put on hold until now. According to those same assessor records, the land is only worth $462,869.
The LVCCL is now proposing that they are ready to invest approximately $7 million into building the new structure. The item on the agenda, however, will not be the final say. It is only to either agree to or refuse to talk with officials of the LVCCL as to if there is a possibility of the project. The Library District Executive Director, Donald Heezen will be present to answer any questions from Council at the meeting, according to agenda materials. It is also noted on the agenda that there would be no cost to the City for agreeing to go forward with the project, if they choose to do so, as “the land for the current and proposed library are sunk costs.”
The other item on the proposed agenda that may cause some lengthy discussions is the consideration of approving Resolution 865, which would begin the process of selling 104 acres in the city-owned Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center, near the current construction of Exit 118.
According to agenda documents, the City received an unsolicited letter from an interested party, Eagles Landing, LLC, about purchasing the selected acreage that abuts Lower Flat Top Mesa as it comes off of the new interchange, the SW and SE corners of the intersection with Pioneer Boulevard. The company has had previous projects that included travel centers, hotels and other businesses from Utah to Oklahoma. One of the principals of the company has had previous experience with building projects in Mesquite.
Council’s action on this item would direct staff as to how they wish to proceed with the sale, as there are two options available. If the item passes and the land does sell, the funds will then be used for part of the construction of Exit 118 that the City is responsible for, such as capital improvements, underground utilities etc.
Other items on the agenda may include approval of an agreement between the City of Mesquite and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), which is seeking to establish an operating location near Exit 112, where there are about 1400 acres that could be used. NIAS would use the area for testing products such as drones. City staff noted at the tech meeting, though, that this item may be pulled and placed on the next agenda if all information is not received by today.
Another important item on the agenda is approving a letter of support for Mesquite Fire and Rescue as they apply for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that will give them up to 17 more employees with funding of $3.5 million over the next two years. The only cost to the city will be approximately $200,000 for uniforms and equipment. Chief Kash Christopher noted that this was on the high end of the estimated costs. The funding will cover the new employee’s wages, benefits and overtime as calculated. Christopher noted during the meeting that all employees will be made aware of the fact that it may be just a two-year contract if funding is not renewed and the City cannot sustain keeping them.
“They will understand at the time of hiring that there is a distinct possibility that they won’t be here after two years,” he said. Councilwoman Delaney asked why MFD needs these additional 17 personnel. Christopher responded, “Our call volume is continually going up. We’re already up 10% this year [from last year] and it is not going to stop.” In closing, Christopher did note that the grant may be less and that it is dependent on the letter from the City and the decision of FEMA. Either way, more staff is needed to be in adherence to safety regulations.
The final two items on Tuesday’s meeting agenda will allow for a public hearing, as they deal with Mesquite’s elections and eligibility requirements. The two items deal mainly with the amount of the application fee a person would pay to run for an elected office, such as Council or Mayor, and how long they must have been a resident of Mesquite. Decisions will need to be made on the fine print of these items, specifying if the person must be a year round resident, and how they can go about proving that.
The regular City Council Meeting will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 5 p.m. and is also usually available on broadcasted channels through Reliance Connects (channel 9) or Baja Broadband (channel 12).