Tuesday’s Redevelopment Agency meeting of the Mesquite City Council, City Attorney Bob Sweetin and City Manager Andy Barton ultimately decided that with a set agreement and timeline between the City and the Las Vegas Clark County Library District, they would deed over the land, 4.5 acres total, for both the new and old sites of the Mesquite Library. Dr. Ronald Heezen, the Executive Director of the LVCCLD was also in attendance to answer questions from the group.
Concerns were raised about deeding over the two parcels of land by Councilmen Kraig Hafen and George Rapson. Both stated in the RDA meeting that they didn’t understand or see what building a new library would do for the ‘downtown’ area. They also raised concerns about the City losing the existing building, which could possible benefit the City in its ever-changing programs. Another concern raised by Hafen was the bottom line on who would have influence in the design of the new library and the remodeling of the old library. Dr. Heezen stated that there are meetings being scheduled with community members and the Council that will allow for everyone to have some form of input into the designs and amenities.
Councilman Geno Withelder requested that there be an updated appraisal of the properties done prior to the transfer of the land, so the City is aware of how much is really being given to the LVCCLD.
After 24 minutes of discussion, most members of the RDA Board voted in favor of the transfer, appraisal and agreement guidelines; Hafen and Rapson were the lone votes against the motion.
The motion was finalized moments later during the regular City Council Meeting with a vote of 3-2 of the Council, again with Hafen and Rapson opposed. If everything continues to run smoothly for the LVCCLD, they will be investing over $7 million into the project of a 16,000 square foot library that will possible offer an auditorium for events such as the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, which outgrew its venue space in the theatre and Virgin Valley High School and wants to offer their performances outside of a casino setting. According to the agenda materials for the meeting, this will be the largest investment in the downtown area since City Hall was built.
Other business at Tuesday’s Council Meeting included a short presentation by Dirk Crowley of RaceDay Event Management about their intentions of expanding the bike race in 2016 by a day, adding more opportunities for racers to participate and invest in the City. Crowley praised the Mesquite Police Department’s Volunteer Force for their professionalism and the manner in which they were able to assist with the races in March 2015. Plans for the 2016 races will be tentatively coming before the City Council in October or November 2015 for approval and planning for Spring 2016.
Other news learned at the meeting was the hopeful opening of the new Dotty’s location at 550 S. El Dorado Road. According to Cannon Smith, a representative of Nevada Restaurant Services, they are shooting for an opening date sometime in September. Smith came before the City Council for approval of a non-restricted gaming liquor license, which will allow the business to sell liquor by the bottle, like a liquor store. Council approved the request with a vote of 5-0.
The final item of the evening was the issue of the gross sales tax fee required of Deep Roots Medical, the medical marijuana business approved in Mesquite. At the time of its approval in August 2014, the council had set a fee of 7%, which turned out to be 4% higher than fees required in other Southern Nevada jurisdictions.
There were comments during the public hearing portion of the item, both for and against the reduction in fees. Some argued that if DRM had such a problem with the fees that it should have been approached at that time. Others argued that regardless of the timing, it’s not fair for them to have to pay so much more than other businesses. For nearly 45 minutes, council members stated their position and ultimately approved the reduction in gross sales fees to 3% with a vote of 4-1, Hafen being the lone nay vote, as he had in the past with related items. Under the stipulations from the state, Deep Roots Medical will have to open their doors for operation by March of 2016. Ryan Breeden, one of the owners of DRM, stated that they are hoping to have the kitchen, production facility and dispensary open in January or February.