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* Barbara Ellestad, Publisher * ALL Content Copyright 2011-2014*
If you blinked you might have missed the short work the Mesquite City Council made of its meeting July 24, that lasted just shy of 30 minutes.
"This turned out to be a more challenging issue than we thought it was when we went into it," City Manager Andy Barton said as he introduced a revision to the Community Grant Application process requested by the Council during the May budget hearings. "This was a collaborative effort by Staff. We found out we couldn't find a one-size-fits-all process."
Barton went on to explain that "in looking at the Community Theatre, we didn't feel that it fell into the grant program since it's a City-owned facility. As a consequence, we didn't feel it was appropriate to put them in with the other potential applicants. We don't have the funds to honor their request. That's unfortunate. We looked at our Leisure Services budget and our Public Works budget. Essentially all we have scheduled for them is a roof repair this year."
In May, representatives from the Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation (GMAF) had requested about $80,000 in upgrades and repairs to various features of the Theatre like lighting, curtains, and sound equipment.
Cindy Biskup, Executive Assistant to the Mayor and Council, explained that the changes to the grant application process "revolved around two main issues: Applicants being self-sustaining in three years; and (treating) operating expenses and indirect costs as ineligible requests."
She explained that the policy change will allow applicants a longer time period to become self-sustaining and will allow requests for operating expenses and indirect costs.
"Specific changes to the application include a required five-year plan showing how the project will become self-sustainable with an explanation if the agency needs long-term funding. The plan is required for cash funding."
Biskup added that "a dollar-for-dollar cash match will be required for requests over $3,000. In-kind requests for space at the Mesquite Campus will be considered as a cash grant request. Recipients will then pay the rent according to their lease agreement. A cash match requirement will apply."
"Recreation facility use requests will be addressed through the City facility use agreement and will no longer be a part of the cash funding process."
She went on to explain that payments through the program will be distributed bi-annually rather than once a year. Organizations receiving the grant payments will be required to submit a report to the City mid-year.
"A mandatory pre-grant meeting for all potential applicants will be held Aug. 2 [corrected], at 10:00 am in City Hall," Biskup announced. City Staff will help explain the new process to applicants and the meeting is the
first required step towards receiving monies from the City.
Councilman Kraig Hafen asked Biskup to clarify three new questions added to the application that require organizations to explain all sources of funding and how much of their operating budget is for administrative salaries and benefits. The groups must also list all private and public funding sources.
The changes were passed without much discussion on a 5-0 vote.
Two zoning items were introduced affecting the City's sign ordinance and how it governs LED (light emitting diode) signs and billboards.
The first change will amend city code to allow LED community event signs. The second change will allow the Eureka Casino and Hotel to install LED electronic message centers on two billboards it owns, one near The 19th Hole restaurant and lounge, and the other near Mesquite Suites Apartments.
Both changes were set for public hearings on August 14. Councilman Hafen recused himself from the second zoning item saying that he "has ownership in a billboard."
"Right now any modifications to the sign's architecture, lighting, or material is prohibited on nonconforming signs under the code," Richard Secrist, Principal Planner in Development Services, told the Council. "Since billboards or off-premise signs are not permitted under the code, all such existing signs are legally non-conforming under the regulations."
Both items were approved by unanimous votes.
"We recommend the low bid of $665,000 be awarded to Las Vegas Paving," Bill Tanner Public Works Director, suggested to the Council as he introduced the award of the 2012 Phase II Residential Street Reconstruction project. "We want to note the estimate (for the project) was $850,000."
Councilman George Rapson pointed out that the difference between the estimate and the bid award put the City under budget for the year on road reconstruction projects. Tanner reminded the Council he will be bringing another street maintenance project to them at the end of August.
Streets affected by the project include Osprey, Condor, Falcon, Eagle, Hawk (Rising Star Subdivision) Bannock, Piute, Navajo (Arrowhead Subdivision Phase I), Blackfoot, Cherokee, Shoshone Circle, Sioux Circle (Arrowhead Subdivision Phase II) Pheasant Drive, Partridge Lane, Quail Run (Mountain View Estates Subdivision) Habib Court, Owen Lane, Gloria Lane, West Lane Amina Circle (Leavitt Estates Phase II).
The Council approved a 10 year Capital Improvement Plan required by Nevada State Statutes on a 5-0 vote without discussion.
"We made some changes and we're hopeful that most of the people who call (City Hall) will now speak to a human being. If they don't (get a person when they call), we have shortened our voice mail message to about 10 seconds. Hopefully this will make things easier," Barton informed the Council about a change made to City Hall's automatic voice answering system that has long been an irritant to citizens.