With Mesquite City Councilman Geno Withelder sitting in as Mayor ProTem while Mayor Al Litman was absent, the council unanimously approved a host of contracts at its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 23.

City Attorney Robert Sweetin received approval to submit a Bill Draft Request to the 2017 Nevada State Legislature that will allow the city to adopt a city charter rather than continue as a general law city.

Sweetin told the council the BDR is simply a one-line “placeholder” in the upcoming legislative session and does not include much information. The BDR must be submitted as a formality before a Sept. 1 deadline.

When Councilwoman Cindi Delaney expressed concern about including citizen input on any charter action, Sweetin said that would most assuredly come. “Right now we just have to get the BDR in as a placeholder and then we can develop the full bill the way we want it with citizen input. This BDR doesn’t affect the process we’ll use to create the charter.”

An updated agreement was approved with Mesquite Regional Business Inc. for economic development professional services. The new agreement pays MRB $75,000 for services from July 1 to Dec. 31 and $95,000 for Jan. 1 to June 30, 2017, a total of $170,000 for fiscal year 16-17. These amounts correspond with the approved budgeted numbers previously approved by the council. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, it is proposed that the amount be increased to $190,000.

The proposed term of the agreement is until June 30, 2019. Either party may terminate the agreement with a six-month written notice. The scope of work and level of service are to remain the same as in past years.

Current MRB CEO George Gault who recently announced plans to step down, told the council the board of directors has received 17 applications for the position and narrowed them down to five. Gault said the board is currently interviewing the candidates and will make a selection soon.

Mesquite Police Chief Troy Tanner received approval of a change to the city’s contract with the Mesquite Police Officers Association union contract that allows an officer to be paid a 5 percent special assignment pay bonus, calculated by base pay, when serving as Officer in Charge.

Previously, OICs were paid year-round at the higher rate even when they weren’t serving in the position for a variety of reasons. “We went back to the union and agreed on this change,” Tanner said. He added the money saved will be used elsewhere in the police department.

The council approved a grant from the FAA and a contract with Forsgren Associates to design and build a perimeter fence around the Mesquite airport.