Update: 2/24/17 @ 1:15 p.m.:
SB 56 has passed the Work Session with a unanimous vote of 5-0 to move on to the full Senate next week. Senator Joe Hardy will be presenting the bill on the floor for that hearing. We will publish an update as soon as the agenda schedule has been posted!
“It was a legislative equivalent of a perfect game,” Lobbyist Warren Hardy said of Wednesday’s hearing on the City of Mesquite’s proposed charter brought before the Senate of Government Affairs Committee. The panel of five included Senators David R. Parks, Mark A. Manendo, Julia Ratti, Pete Goicoechea, and Joseph P. Hardy.
SB56 is set to go before a work session today, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. and can be viewed at http://nvleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?event_id=17491.
Among those testifying on Wednesday included District B Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who represents the Virgin and Moapa Valleys in Las Vegas. “This is a great opportunity for them to have some structure in place that works,” she said.
Mayor Al Litman also testified, noting that previous charter attempts were unsuccessful due to the inability to find terms that everyone was happy with. “The charter is a very interesting thing in Mesquite,” he said. “When I was first approached about putting a charter together, I was told that it was never a consensus of anybody to put one together.” He also commented that Mesquite is a changing community and no longer the step-child of Clark County, but a fantastic community and he feels that the charter will “bring us further into the 21st Century as we continue to grow.”
City Attorney Bob Sweetin walked the committee through the charter briefly, pointing out that while Mesquite is the fastest growing city in the state, it is the only one in Clark County that does not have a charter. “For the long term benefit of the city, it seemed like a good thing to do,” he told the committee. “This will create long-term stability. The ordinance process is better under this form of government.”
Burton Weast, one of the members of the Charter Committee was also in Carson City to testify before the committee in support of the charter he helped create. “The broad representation of the committee itself is what created this charter. As a committee, we are pleased with the outcome of the charter and completely recommend SB56,” he said.
From a meeting room in Las Vegas, Councilman Dave Ballweg testified to his involvement of the charter and complimented the processes that were used during the creation of the charter in October and November as being “a very open process, very constructive. That really tailored the charter.”
Other testimonies of support were also presented by Brenda Snell, the current CEO of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce; Rachel Dahl, CEO of Mesquite Regional Business; Wes Henderson with the Nevada League of Cities; David Cherry with the City of Henderson; and Ryan Juden, the Assistant City Manager for North Las Vegas.
The committee had very few questions of Mesquite’s representatives about the charter and raised no opposition during the meeting.
Senator Giocoechea did raise a concern on the transition the city would face if and when the charter was approved and implemented.
“This will have no impact on governance of the city,” said Sweetin. “NRS 266 is a strong mayor form of government, that’s what it creates. The city of Mesquite because of its size, because of our community and the nature of it, we do have a City Manager that has been created by ordinance. The charter allows the city to continue operating as it has for many years.”
He continued by noting that Article 10 of the charter outlines the transition process and the city is prepared to make the minor changes needed over the next few months to bring their ordinances up to code with what is proposed in the charter. “This will have no impact on current contracts,” he said.
At today’s work session, a vote may be passed to move the bill to the full Senate as early as Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The MLN will continue to update our story as developments occur through the process.
“I still believe that we should have this on the Governor’s desk by the end of March,” Hardy told the MLN.