Commission approves $45 million to improve county parks, facilities

County parks and facilities soon will be upgraded as part of a $45 million capital improvement campaign approved Tuesday by Clark County commissioners.

The unanticipated one-time funding comes from an influx in consolidated taxes, franchise fee audit adjustments and interest earnings. The money will be used to renovate, repair and replace asphalt, vehicles, elevators, plumbing, electricity and traffic safety devices at dozens of locations throughout the county.

Many of the projects could be completed within the next 12 months.

The largest of the 33 projects, at
$9.7 million, includes replacing or repairing parking lots and carpeting at several county facilities. The second-largest is $5 million for elevators at the Clark County Government Center, Clark Place and 309 S. Third St.

A microphone in the commission chambers buzzed and crackled as Yolanda King, the county’s budget manager, spoke to the board.

“Speak closer to the microphone, please,” Commissioner Susan Brager said.

Commissioner Larry Brown pointed out one of the projects will use $95,000 to upgrade communications equipment used to televise commission meetings and create public records.

“It’s not for the benefit of speaking into a microphone,” Brown said. “It’s for the technology we need to infuse into these chambers for the scores of meetings held in these chambers. It’s a great benefit to the public.”

County Manager Don Burnette told commissioners that the county was fortunate to have the money available but should be investing $75 million annually to keep up facilities. Budget woes have kept repairs from being made for three years.

“It doesn’t address the need,” he said.

The plan also addresses county parks that have no bathrooms and rely on portable toilets. The plan will use $2 million to install permanent restrooms at Sunset, Molasky, Silverbowl, Paul Meyer and Winchester parks.

“We have an obligation and responsibility to maintain our facilities,” Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said. “It may not be the sexiest thing in the world, but it’s an investment we make on behalf of taxpayers. … I hope we change our policy moving forward that we will never build a park again without a toilet.”

Smaller projects include $805,000 to fund a centralized business license and online application system to share data with the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

King said it’s the county’s policy to use one-time unanticipated funding for capital upgrades. The last time the county had breathing room to make needed repairs was 2008.

King said the capital improvement projects are expected to create
$16.6 million in trade labor work and
$16.2 million in the purchase of materials.

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@review or 702-455-4519.

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