Mayor Al Litman presents Exchange Club of Mesquite representative Pam Gagnon with a signed Proclamation declaring April 2017 as Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is one of the many efforts the club works towards on a daily basis. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

During the regular meeting for the Mesquite City Council on April 11, Mayor Al Litman presented a proclamation to the Exchange Club of Mesquite declaring April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Exchange Club, which is celebrating its twentieth year here, has raised and disbursed over $150,000 to the community during that time. For 2016 alone, $23,000 was donated to local charities. Just last month, the club donated $2,000 to the newly opened DaySprings Ranch Youth Center. The Exchange Club of Mesquite currently has 18 members who spend thousands of hours each year helping the community and raising awareness to prevent child abuse, especially with their distribution of pinwheels at the Mesquite Days Parade each year.

In other business, council set a public hearing date for Bill No. 510 that would amend a flood control ordinance at their next meeting on April 25. Litman also pulled item 10 off of the agenda due to a scheduling conflict. That item, which would approve a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Mesquite and the Nevada Rural Housing Authority to develop affordable housing opportunities in the area, had to be removed due to a scheduling conflict with the NRHA. This has been a hot topic item over the past few months since studies released show that Mesquite needs nearly 500 units of affordable housing to accommodate low income families and an increasing population of approximately 5,000 people per year. The item is tentatively scheduled to reappear on the April 25 agenda as well.

Council and City Staff will enter into their tedious budget sessions on May 17 and 18 from 2 – 6 p.m. according to City Finance Director Dave Empey. The tentative budget, which may drain the General Fund to nearly $5 million should be presented for final approval at the May 23. While projections of revenue appear to increase over the next year through property taxes and the C-Tax, Councilman David Ballweg noted that the future budget will be taking care of some much needed repairs that have been neglected due to budget cuts.

“For years I have been sitting in the audience. I think it’s time we look forward as a city,” said Ballweg. Departments that need to have some serious repairs and attention include public safety (Fire and Police Departments), the recreation center, ball fields and public works. With the requested addition of at least two firefighters starting July 1, the budget will be tighter than it has been. “We need to stop kicking the can down the road on these things,” said Ballweg. “It’s time that we take care of them.” Council unanimously approved the motion to proceed with the sessions and Councilman George Rapson also asked that staff take a look at doing a five-year plan for the improvements.

Other items also approved included a bid award to LPi Publications for the Senior Center and Athletics Department’s monthly newsletter. Ballweg asked that several lines in the proposed contract be stricken, such as providing the company with internet, office space and providing a vendor/member list. The award passed with the requested strikes and LPi representative Anita Aguilar understanding that she and LPi are not to present themselves as representing the City of Mesquite. Aguilar acknowledged that she understood and that it wouldn’t be an issue. Rapson further encouraged staff to create a specific script sheet that would need to be followed during sales calls for ads in the newsletter. LPi will be using a room within the Mesquite Senior Center during normal business hours, provide their own cell phone and will be able to use the center’s wireless internet, costing the city nothing in addition to what is already budgeted. According to the proposal agreed to, LPi will begin their production of the newsletter on June 1.