Natural gas service in Mesquite is scheduled to begin in the first quarter 2019 if all goes well, according to representatives of Southwest Gas Corporation who gave an update to the Mesquite City Council at its Tuesday, June 26 meeting.

Scott Leedom, public affairs manager for Southwest Gas, said the expansion of a natural gas pipeline will cost approximately $28 million for about 37 miles of distribution pipes. All Southwest Gas customers in southern Nevada, including Mesquite, will pay on average an extra 20 cents monthly to fund the project. Additionally, Mesquite residential customers will pay a monthly surcharge of about $1.33.

The pipeline will branch off the Kern River pipeline in Lincoln County and travel southward along Mesquite Heights Road. While existing residential homes will not likely be retrofitted for natural gas, Leedom said his company is already working with Pulte Del Webb for Sun City Mesquite and Nevada Residential Construction for Hayden Estates on pipeline construction in future subdivisions.

Leedom added that his company will work with all home builders and developers to bring natural gas pipelines to their projects.

The pipeline will loop through the business areas along Mesquite Boulevard, Sandhill Boulevard, Pioneer Boulevard, and Hardy Way and include the Mesquite Technology Commerce Center on West Pioneer Boulevard.

Southwest Gas staff will conduct specialized training for the Mesquite Fire and Rescue Department on handling hazardous situations that may involve natural gas.

Initially, many customers will be served through “virtual pipelines” in advance of the availability of permanent gas supplies through regular channels. That will allow service to start in early 2019 rather than waiting two or three years until the real pipeline is finished in 2021. Virtual pipelines use compressed liquid natural gas trucked into service areas.

In other business, the council approved a conditional use permit for a new self-storage unit facility located on 6.27 acres near the Ford dealership in Auto Mall Circle and West Pioneer Boulevard.

The council also approved hiring a new school resource police officer who will be stationed at Hughes Middle School.

Adoption of a charitable trust for the City of Mesquite benefiting local education, arts, care and custody of animals, among others was approved. The trust mechanism will allow people to make tax-deductible donations to the city and designate its use through one of the sub-trusts like the Animal Shelter.

“This is the shell of the trust,” Councilman Dave Ballweg. “We’ll have a follow-on ordinance to detail how trustees will be elected and other features of how the trust will operate. It’s an arms-length from the city so it will be up to the trustees to manage the funds and the trusts.”

Monies recently granted to the four local schools from marijuana taxes will be administered through the trust. Any individual or business can also make donations to the trust.