Even before the official opening of the newly constructed splash pad, the folks at a local blog are, per usual, finding fault with our local government, how we do business, how contracts are given out, the pioneer families, the Mormon Church, the splash pad, of course, and whatever displeases them at the moment. Throw in Cliven Bundy for good measure, and we’re set to go.
It would be easy to ignore them as they and their supporters make up a miniscule percentage of our residents. However, when my name is mentioned or members of my staff are commented about in the negative, I must respond.
The history of the splash pad goes back a number of years prior to this administration, but we inherited the plan, paid for by a CDBG grant from HUD. It was awarded to Mesquite for a specific project, in a specific part of town, meant to serve a specific population. The Federal government makes no exceptions. Did we really need this project? Maybe, maybe not. If you’re an adult, no. If you are a child, yes. Nonetheless, we inherited it and short of giving all the money back so another community who would reap the benefits, we decided to move forward. Was it costly? Yes. Let me try and explain why.
The project, as presented, was more expensive than I thought it should be, until I factored in the Nevada Prevailing Wage Law. I’m going to paraphrase from the Nevada Legislative Bureau on why this came about along with some direct information about Nevada’s Revised Statutes that mandates these extra costs.
“Prevailing Wage Law” is a common term used for the Davis-Bacon Act. This act is a Federal law that requires contractors who are awarded bids for Federal public works projects, in this case, the CDBG grant, to pay their workers a minimum wage, “that will be determined by the Secretary of Labor to be the prevailing wage for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the city, town, village, or other civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed.”
Nevada Revised Statute 338.030 specifies the procedures to be followed by the Labor Commission in establishing prevailing wages for each county and those wages must be paid on all public works projects that are subject to the statutes. Guess what? The splash pad was one of those projects. It drives up the labor costs beyond belief for projects over $100,000. This is the main reason we have nearly a million dollar project. As I recall, the average worker on this project was paid around $70.00 per hour and this is not open for negotiation. Of course the contractor makes money, but the many workers do very well also.
Our blogger wants to know how this project translates into enhancing economic development. High-paid workers spend money in the community and families with young children tend to locate when possible where there are amenities for their children. Community development is economic development, period.
The whole point of this article is just to bring to light the fact that no matter what we do as a city and government there are those few in the community that will never be happy. They criticize, rarely compliment, and offer no better solutions to most of what we do.
In conclusion, the splash pad is not perfect, but what makes perfect? The splash pad is not a Hafen/Tanner plot. You may not agree with either individual; that’s your right, but those who criticize without knowledge of the facts should examine their own standards of conduct. What might have been done by past administrations should not reflect on the present. My staff conducts themselves with the highest standards of integrity as well as all members of this City Council. I’m sure that when the next project comes up to better Mesquite the same people will be out on a witch-hunt.
By the way, we will be building a shade cover for visitors; the water is recirculating and checked often. It is state of the art equipment with the safety of the children being our main concern. The fence is required by the Southern Nevada Health District and everything meets or exceeds code.