After just three meetings, the Charter Committee appointed by city officials is on track to present their recommendations to the Mesquite City Council at its meeting on Nov. 9.
Mesquite is currently one of seven general law cities in Nevada but if the Nevada State Legislature approves the proposed charter, they will join 12 other charter cities in Nevada: Boulder, Caliente, Carlin, Carson City, Elko, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, Wells and Yerington. Mesquite is the only city with more than 5,000 residents besides Fernley who is not a charter city.
The difference between the two classifications of cities boils down to authority over municipal affairs. Instead of being held at the mercy of Nevada’s rulings and laws, Mesquite will, if approved, be able to set its own terms and conditions where appropriate. The term ‘municipal’ is fluid in itself and may include matters pertaining to elections, which is what triggered the current committee with the ordeal that occurred with the 2016 primary elections for Mesquite City Council.
The committee has made a bit of progress through their first three meetings thanks to help from Aaron Baker, Mesquite City Liaison Officer serving as ex-officio and City Attorney Bob Sweetin providing legal counsel. The duo created the starting charter based off of Henderson’s charter and altering as recommended by the committee.
Serving on the committee began with David Ballweg, Mike Benham, George Gault and Karen Beardsley. Since then, they have added Adam Anderson, Bunny Wiseman, Burton Weast and Troy Jolley, giving the committee a well-rounded background to cover vital areas from legal language and accounting issues.
At the Sept. 13 council meeting when the initial committee was approved, Sweetin said that the general public will see very little effect in operations if approved, meaning that it will not affect things like business licenses, fees or agreements already in place.
While the agenda for the committee covers a wide array of items to review and refine, they will still need to discuss vital sections regarding elections, local improvements and revenue before finalizing and presenting their suggested charter to the City Council on Nov. 9. According to Sweetin, the charter may be put in place whenever the council suggests and legislature approves. “It could be immediate or a date we set in the future,” he told the MLN.