This dirt lot next to Star Nursery just off West Pioneer Boulevard in the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center promises to help Mesquite continue its fast growth and increased population. It will be the site of a 76,504-square foot RV service center owned by the REV Recreation Group, Inc., headquartered in Decatur, IN. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Mesquite’s population grew by about 1,000 in 2016 taking it to about 20,000 people. That may not sound like a lot and compared to bigger cities like Henderson, Las Vegas, and Reno, it’s not. But percentage wise, the numbers make Mesquite the fastest growing city in Clark County and the state of Nevada at 5 percent growth.

The numbers were released by city manager Andy Barton at his monthly community forum on Feb. 16. He added on top of last year’s numbers, the local population grew by 4 percent in 2015.

But it’s not just population growth that’s spurring activity in Mesquite but a growing popularity of the city as a kids’ sports destination. Barton cited the fact that over Presidents’ Day holiday weekend all of the hotel rooms were booked.

“Not one hotel room was available over that weekend,” Barton said.

About 4,000 kids were scheduled to participate in soccer and baseball tournaments over the holiday weekend. That doesn’t include parents and coaches who accompanied the sportsters.

The growth numbers are also supported by an upcoming request from Richard Secrist, Development Services director, for an additional building inspector position. The issue comes before city council at its Feb 28 meeting.

Secrist said in the agenda item background material that “The rate of development growth in the city, following the recession, has now reached the point where existing staff is unable to meet the demands for inspection services.”

Secrist pointed out that the city issued 246 permits for single family residences in 2016, the highest number since 2007. That is up 21.78 percent over the 202 permits his department issued in 2015. He also cited a 46.2 percent increase in residential modification permits experienced in 2016. The total valuation of all permits Secrist’s department issued in 2016 rose 46.04 percent.

“All this construction activity means an increased work load in the Building Division. Building Plan Reviews remained pretty consistent in 2016 over 2015 (1,017 vs. 1,106). This is about 84.75 plan reviews per month and approximately 3.85 per day. Field inspections have increased 16.65 percent, from 8,032 in 2015 to 9,369 in 2016. That is 780.75 inspections per month, or approximately 35.48 per day,” Secrist said.

Currently the city only has one building inspector, Robin Cude, responsible for that workload.

Secrist also said in his background material that “this growth in construction permits also means that permit fees collected are also up. Through the first six months of this fiscal year, we averaged $63,667.47 per month in permit fees collected. In FY 2015-2016 we averaged $49,776.00 per month for the year. This represents a difference of $13,891.47 / month. If that trend holds true for the balance of FY 16-17, we will have brought in $166,697 more this fiscal year than last.”

He anticipates that hiring another building inspector will cost the city “somewhere in the neighborhood of $84,930” including salary and benefits. “The new growth would more than pay for the position,” he said.

At his forum though, Barton pointed out that the city hasn’t received expanded revenues to meet overall expanded services. He said that Mesquite’s portion of the state consolidated tax (c-tax) is up only $500 so far this year. Property tax revenues, the largest portion of city revenues, has risen only two-tenths of one percent this fiscal year.

“It may be a year or two before all this growth manifests itself in increased revenues to the city,” Barton said.