After recently approving both police and firefighter union contracts, the Mesquite City Council finalized its rank-and-file employee contract at its Tuesday, Aug. 13, meeting. It’s the first time all three union contracts have been negotiated at basically the same time.

The contract runs for three years through 2022 for all Non-Supervisor and M1 and M2 Supervisor employees with the Teamsters Local Union No. 14

Employees will receive a 5 percent pay raise each of the three years. The city put the first year increase on the budget at $375,970 with the total three-year increase costing $994,061.

City Attorney Bob Sweetin said the contract locks in health insurance rates for employees through the contract period which “was a substantial concession from the union.” Monthly insurance rates payable by the city are $1,020 per month per employee for 2019 and 2020, rising to $1,050 in 2021.

The city is also responsible for paying 100 percent of each employee’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) monthly contribution currently running at 28 percent of salaries.

The three-year union contract with police, reached in June, calls for $166,407 in increased salaries with the total impact on the city budget reaching $406,253 in higher salaries.

The firefighter contract that the city approved in July calls for $60,214 more in salaries the first year with $409,826 in increased salaries over the full three-year period.

The city council also approved a resolution creating a formal city position opposing proposed and future oil and gas lease sales in the region. “That way, if this type of sale is proposed in the future, this resolution can be re-submitted for comment. Future councils can rescind or amend this resolution,” according to background documents.

The resolution is in response to proposed Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales of available federal lands set for November.

In his introduction of the resolution, Councilman George Gault said, “some of the parcels included in the 2019 proposed sale are located directly above the region’s water system’s aquifer supply (Basin 222) and up gradient from the direction of groundwater flow to the region’s water sources.”

The aquifer that supplies all culinary water for the Virgin Valley is located in Basin 222.

The Virgin Valley Water District submitted a similar opposition in July saying, “Because of the proximity to our current and future well sites, and the recharge area for Basin 222, we request the Bureau of Land Management not allow any lease sales in the subject parcels because there is not enough scientific data to determine potential impacts of oil and gas exploration, development, and production to the Muddy Creek Aquifer, from which we draw the drinking water for the Town of Bunkerville and Mesquite City. Also, the future proposed areas for which we intend to drill additional water supply wells are near where the proposed parcels are located.”

The VWD letter also said, “Two of the VVWD’s nine wells and two more planned wells are located in southern Lincoln County just a few miles from the parcels of concern. Because of the location of the VVWD’s water sources, and the lack of detail on the potential impacts to those water sources, the VVWD requests the BLM not allow the Oil and Gas Lease Sale for the Parcels in the area of concern.”

The city and water district jointly opposed a similar lease sale in 2015.