Janice Ridondo brings a lot of experience to her new job as Community Resource Manager for the City of Mesquite. She also brings a lot of knowledge about where “all the bodies are buried, and the money is hidden” when it comes to politics in Clark County and the state.
Before she began with the city in December, Ridondo was the community liaison for several Clark County Commissioners, most recently Mesquite’s current commission representative Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Other commissioners she worked for include Tom Collins and Chip Maxfield.
“Contacts have a lot to do with getting things done,” Ridondo said. “Nevada is a very political state. It’s hard to walk in someplace cold where no one knows you. With 14 years’ experience in Clark County politics, you get to know all the important folks.”
She said it’s been an interesting experience to go from working basically for one politician to now working for six: the mayor and five council persons. “All of them represent everyone in the city and are not divided by wards or districts.”
Having experience with Mesquite and its government as an outsider looking in, Ridondo said, “Mesquite is very self-sufficient and wants to be in their own pocket up north. The people are very friendly and so inviting. But it is far from Las Vegas. Clark County could do more to reach out to Mesquite but Mesquite could also do more to reach out to the county. I intend to try doing more of that with the City Manager’s blessing.”
A glaring omission she’s noticed already is that Mesquite has not been offered or worked for identification as an opportunity zone. “Opportunity zones are a new community development program that was established by Congress via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The goal of opportunity zones is to encourage long-term investments, specifically in low-income urban and rural areas throughout the country, and to inevitably bolster the economy,” according to various web sites.
“We have a housing problem in Mesquite,” she said. “Some of our big businesses have a problem attracting employees because they don’t have anywhere to live. Development and redevelopment are a couple things under my cap as the Community Resource Manager.
“I’ve been reaching out to a few folks in Vegas that I know who represent builders who make a pretty nice product with a mixture of apartments and the small, thousand square foot starter home. This is a nationwide problem,” she said.
Ridondo is also tasked with redevelopment issues in Mesquite. The city collects tax monies from special districts designated throughout the area that funds the Redevelopment Agency (RDA). The fund currently has several million dollars in it.
“We are looking at using small pots of that money, up to $5,000, to fund what we’re calling the Frontage Visual Rehab program,” Ridondo said. “It will be a 100 percent award for existing businesses to use to spruce up or demolish properties that are an eyesore. It can be used to improve doors, windows, painting, signage, or store fronts on buildings and properties within the RDA tax districts. If it can be done for $5,000, the RDA will pay the total amount.”
Ridondo referred to herself as a “fresh face and a new ear” for people to tell her what’s bothering them. “If I can’t give them a hundred percent of what they asked for, at least they will be satisfied that I gave them an answer,” she said.
As a resident of Overton, Ridondo founded a Nevada nonprofit animal rescue over a decade ago that specializes in pot bellied pigs and various other small to large farm animals. She is passionate about preserving the rural and farming areas in Southern Nevada and is an ardent advocate for animal welfare.