Clark County OKs debt, property deal with health district

Clark County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a settlement to end a nearly three-year-long stretch of litigation with the Southern Nevada Health District.

The agreement, if approved by the health district, would settle two lawsuits. One is whether the health district has the legal right to own real property under state law. The other issue was if the county still owes the health district about $3 million more in interest following a judgment in the district’s favor.

Under the agreement, the county would not object to the health district owning real property in its name, and the county wouldn’t owe the health district any money.

A judge ordered the county to pay the health district $16.2 million in June after the health district sued. The health district successfully contended it wasn’t getting the portion of property tax revenues owed under state law.

A judge also awarded the health district additional funding in interest, which the county had appealed. That appeal is dropped under the agreement.

The health district had previously leased property for its headquarters from the county that is at 625 Shadow Lane. The health district moved out abruptly in April 2012, citing structural concerns about the building. That county-owned building now requires an asbestos abatement before it can be razed.

The health district is now operating out of leased property at 330 S. Valley View Blvd. The lease expires July 31, 2015.

The health district’s board will vote March 27 on the settlement.

The two parties spent $276,323.81 on legal costs for the litigation, public records show. Clark County spent $109,754.92, and the health’s costs have hit $166,568.89. Both government agencies hired private law firms to handle the matter.

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin @reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.