By Mayor Al Litman
It’s May, and by the time you probably read this, Mesquite Days will be over, and planning will start for next year. What a great event!
This month I want to address several items. With so many new residents coming here in recent years, there has been a number of misconceptions about how our local government works.
Government is not the same everywhere, and perhaps where you came from is very different from Mesquite. From the time were became a city in 1984, we were governed by The Nevada revised Statutes, section 266. I won’t go into any detail, as it no longer pertains to Mesquite.
Several years ago we became a charter city, and received from the Nevada legislature, the first charter in the state in many years. It is our governing document and cannot be changed without the consent of the legislature.
The charter is available for anyone to see and obtain, as it is a public document. The charter does not mention the Overton Power District, nor the Virgin Valley Water District.
These two are quasi-public utilities and are not part of the city. Their employee’s work for them. They set the rates and issue the permits. When you have an issue or need, you need to contact them and they will provide the service you request.
As you know, misconceptions run rampant in a small community, and I want to further address several of them starting with medical services.
An individual voiced an opinion on social media that must be addressed. This person tells me that I can divert money from road construction to non-profit doctors, and that money that built our hospital came from the city in some form or another.
It did not.
We cannot divert funds we received from the state for road construction to anywhere other than where it was meant to go. Secondly, our hospital was built with money from a private hospital corporation in 2004.
No city money was involved, but we did give them the land to build on as an economic incentive to come here. In some cases we can still do this. The person that I am writing about also says it’s the responsibility of local government officials to sort out how to provide us with medical services.
It is not.
To sum this discussion up, we do not employ medical personnel, nor do we have any control over the hospital. It is a for-profit hospital who answers to its own government and stockholders.
As I mentioned in a prior article, rural hospitals are closing daily as it’s difficult to make a profit in our current environment. Doctors, many with large medical school debt, move to larger communities for larger paychecks.
The days of the country doctor are long gone, where they received a chicken for their service. The days of house calls, at any hour, are over and will never come back.
I sincerely believe we are getting decent medical care, and hope, as we grow, it will only get better. Yes, I did say we might never have the medical care we want in Mesquite.
Until we can support our medical facilities with a larger population, we will have to either go elsewhere for services, or not live in a small community.
Will another medical facility come to Mesquite? We don’t know. But we do know that it won’t be funded by local government.
We can, and do provide many services, but a hospital is not one of them.
Al Litman is mayor of the City of Mesquite.