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Economic Non Sequiturs - MISC
Posting Date: 03/15/2012

Michael McGreer

A three member majority of the Mesquite City council voted Tuesday to spend funds to study the cost of building a multipurpose covered tent near the Mesquite Sports and Event Center site.

Originally called the Mesquite Indoor Sports Complex, officials are now touting the site as a multiple events complex in order to better sell it to the community.

Councilmen Allan Litman and Kraig Hafen voted against the expenditure on pragmatic grounds.

Litman argued against spending money on a design without a comprehensive business plan and the availability of funds. Hafen objected to taking money from other accounts to pay for the project with only assumed benefits.

Councilman George Rapson, arguing for the project, noted that spending money on projects that didn't make profits was a good thing. He pointed to spending on roads as projects that “don't make a dime.”

The Rapson argument was typical of those who fail to understand that government expenditures must only go to projects that have a clear, measurable, social or economic benefit. Roads do make profits for the businesses that depend upon them to move goods and services from point A to B in an efficient and economical way.

Councilman Geno Withelder argued that since his work companions are for the project, he is for the project. Councilman Karl Gustaveson said that they were only voting to spend money to determine the costs of building the complex.

Litman and Hafen, correctly, were not necessarily arguing against the project,

they were arguing for a better economic understanding before launching into projects.

Panic is the best way to describe those supporting the complex. They seem to argue the economic non sequitur that: “if we build it, they will come.”

Resident Robert Shively, a proponent of the “build it, they will come school of economics,” offered that opponents were naysayers without merit and made the illogical comparison between the value of sports complexes in Rochester, Minn., to the potential benefit of the same in the local area.

The most flagrant polemic was seemingly directed at Councilman Hafen by Interim City Manager Kurt Sawyer.

Sawyer attempted to argued that taking economic risks was partly responsible for moving the community from the days when diary cattle roamed the area to its present condition. The reference was an obvious slight to the Hafen family dairy business.

Karen Fielding, President of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, argued for the project. Of all the organizations that should understand the need for solid economic planning, it should be the Chamber. Obviously they don't.

Does the City need another indoor event center? Probably not, since one currently exists at the CasaBlanca and there are any number of vacant buildings that could be converted if the need did exist.

This argument is not about the need for economic development. That need is obvious. The argument is about the lack of economic sense applied to decisions made by some of the city councilmen. But this is nothing new.

 

Commentary
  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    Randy E. Rapson is just a clown on stage and Karen Fielding doesn't have a clue about promoting business. That is what they don't understand, it is not about the need, it is about paying for it in this manner. Not economically smart.
    By: Bill
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    Seems that Rapson, who was canned by his boss while at the Casa Blanca is trying to get back in with the bosses. He should know better. This project is too costly and unwanted. Time to start a recall of this councilman. He fooled us once, time to fire him from this position. He just does not get it. Hafen is right.
    By: ralphedwards
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    The bottom line, absent all the emotion, is that this project just does not make sense economically. It is a waste of taxpayer money. Hafen and Litman are right.
    By: Kathy
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    Where is the business plan? Does somebody really think that building a 5 million dollar tent will ever pay for itself? Think of the maintenance alone. The staffing and the POWER bill. When we're in an economic downturn, spending on something like this is an outrage. The city should be looking at ways to give back to the business they took the money from. And the Chamber is a joke or more rightly a social club. The comment above is right, they don't have a clue about business.
    By: Mesquite Mike
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    Panic is the right term. Think for a minute as to why there is a panic to rush the concept of the tent, the purchase of the BLM 80 acres, the finding of qualified bidders, the approval of two of the qualified bidders -- all without a plan for how the tent will be staffed, maintained, operated, or for how the interior will be paid for. I have my answer. Do you have yours?
    By: judy
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    If you want your future decided by Karen Fielding, Randy Rapson, and Kurt Sawyer, you better hang onto your wallet. This great idea is really gonna cost you.
    By: Brenda
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    Government entities, in the analysis of such decision to build any venue or amenity, do not engage in developing business plans. With your experience, you understand the consideration in government decision is based on economic impact studies and plans. There has been an economic impact analysis developed in conjunction with the LVCVA to define under different scenarios the impact of such a facility to the Mesquite Economy. This analysis has been publically reviewed in previous City Council meetings and public meets concerning the Event Center. In your other crusade of advocating the evolution of Mesquite’s economy to a “Green” based model, you have not advocated any accountability of the cost to government to financial and politically subsidize these non-market viable endeavors with a business plan. Also to address you’re other comments concerning current facilities available in Mesquite, the Casablanca’s facility is approximately 25% the size of the proposed new facility and there are no clear span building anywhere near the square footage that could provide for the proposed uses of the Mesquite Event Center.
    By: David Ballweg
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    I don't understand the above comment. If our government entity was relying on economic impact studies, the information supplied by Bryan Dangerfield was flawed and overblown. The writer was asking how the city can justify spending so much money without knowing the true cost of the venture. It has been shown repeatedly that the figures supplied by Dangerfield and Ogden with completely inflated. With your experience therefore, how is it in any way possible to make an informed decision? Has anyone even asked what it costs to run the Casa tent then multiply by 4? If your impact study is flawed, your whole project is flawed.
    By: Gerry H
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  • Posted Date: 03/15/2012
    To Gerry H: For any validation of your opinion, you will need to offer some analysis with facts to counter the conclusions of the Economic Impact report. This report was assembled with the help and input of the LVCVA in Las Vegas. The LVCVA is the preeminent authority in Nevada and the region to define economic impact of such ventures. The LVCVA experts that helped develop the Economic Impact information for the Mesquite Event Center provide the guidance for the LVCVA board to manage an $18.8 million budget for 2012. I do not think that we can easily conclude that the study is flawed
    By: David Ballweg
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