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Commissioners to decide on $45 million in capital improvement projects

Aging parks and facilities countywide could soon get a face-lift if the County Commission approves $45 million in capital improvement projects today.

The unanticipated one-time funding comes from a surge in consolidated taxes, franchise fee audit adjustments and interest earnings. If approved, the money would be used to renovate, repair or 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 proposed projects, at $9.7 million, is maintenance for several county facilities, including replacement or repair of parking lots and carpet. The second-largest is $5 million for elevators at the Clark County Government Center, Clark Place and 309 S. Third St.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Larry Brown was stuck in an elevator for 40 minutes between the government center's sixth floor and the commission chambers.

"I'm one of the few electeds in town who can say I've been stuck in both county and city elevators," he joked.

He said the funding won't come because of his misfortune, but it's a perfect example of the need to maintain county facilities.

"Me getting stuck in an elevator is not a big deal, but if there's someone in a wheelchair or someone on meds on the public side, we can't afford to let that happen," Brown said. "Like anything else, the longer you wait, the more you're going to pay."

Smaller projects include $135,000 to convert court records electronically and $805,000 to fund a centralized business license and online application system that would share data with the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

It's the county's policy to use one-time unanticipated funding for capital upgrades, said Yolanda King, the county's budget manager. The last time the county had breathing room to make needed repairs was 2008.

"Things fall apart," King said. "We're certainly in dire need of fixing our facilities."

Commissioner Steve Sisolak said he supports the funding if jobs are created. "I want to go for maintenance that's more labor-related than capital-related," Sisolak said. "If we're spending money on maintenance, let's create jobs."

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.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said she appreciated that the plan addresses county parks that have no bathrooms and rely on portable toilets. The plan would use $2 million to install permanent restrooms at Sunset, Molasky, Silverbowl, Paul Meyer and Winchester parks.

"How you can have a park with no bathrooms is nonsensical," Giunchigliani said.

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

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