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New year brings opportunities to ‘do something’

Happy new year! As we enter 2023, I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays and is looking forward to the new year. Considerable progress and goal-setting have been happening, and I wanted to share some of that with you.

Observing what is happening in City Hall, I am impressed by the efforts to keep our city services, programs and operations running efficiently while being mindful of everyone’s health and safety. Indeed, we are still practicing prudent measures regarding COVID and other viruses — especially with the flu season we are experiencing. With progress continuing despite these challenges, I wanted to focus on our accomplishments in 2022 and our intentions for 2023.

In 2021-22 the city received $21 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Staff surveyed the community, gaining feedback for the funds’ investments. Answers ran the gamut from water conservation and sustainability to funding our local human service organizations and schools to building pickleball courts — something for everyone in Boulder City.

I’m prioritizing water conservation and sustainability to meet that priority, including no more dumping water in the desert. One of my top priorities is to start recycling city wastewater as soon as possible. Staff from the city and Southern Nevada Water Authority know this is a vital issue that shouldn’t be delayed. Expect announcements soon as to how Boulder City will remedy this issue.

Our city parks are some of the best in Southern Nevada. While I anticipate minor changes to reduce water use, much can come from improved irrigation systems, planting drought-resistant plants and minor tweaks. Our parks will continue to be enjoyable for us and even draw additional visitors.

In addition to water usage and parks, Boulder City has some fantastic buildings, but some require significant repairs. For example, City Hall, with its incredible historical value, was challenging for those with mobility issues to maneuver. To resolve this, in 2022, staff widened the north entry corridor for wheelchair accessibility, as was the council chamber dais, which now has a wheelchair ramp. The chamber was outfitted with a hearing loop, which can feed meeting audio directly into a hearing device.

Plans are underway to make the building even more accessible shortly.

In the past two decades, Boulder City has maintained one of the lowest tax rates in the state of Nevada because of the land leases with solar energy providers. Without these leases, property owners may pay triple — or quadruple — in taxes yearly. The foresight to hold onto these properties and use lease rates (which can evolve when contracts expire) to support our budget keeps adequate staffing and helps pay for capital improvements. I believe these leases will continue to help Boulder City remain among the lowest-taxed municipalities in Nevada, which is certainly an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Boulder City public safety does phenomenal work, but their efforts depend on appropriate equipment and staffing levels. The police department has 22 older vehicles used for patrol and other law enforcement applications — cars from 1999 to 2015 — that need replacing. Recently, city staff worked with Congresswoman Susie Lee and her team to apply for a federal Community Policing Funds grant of $400,000 to replace five vehicles and purchase necessary equipment such as sirens and lights. On Christmas Eve, staff confirmed that the funding was approved.

Response times are critical for calls such as heart attacks, strokes or house fires. In the past decade, multiple reviews by the fire department identified gaps in response capabilities. Equipment is housed in one location, resulting in slower response times in places like the Lakeside, Del Prado and San Felipe neighborhoods (more than the nationally recognized standard of four minutes). The department worked with staff on developing a plan to build a substation at Quartzite Road and Nevada Way, and zoning for the project received approval from council in December.

Our business community has seen a rough few years, but most have weathered the storm. The leadership of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce and Jill Rowland-Lagan have been the critical component of that survival. I look forward to building a robust business-government relationship with City Hall, enhancing the process for entrepreneurs and business owners to be successful in our community.

Award-winning novelist Neil Gaiman said it well: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, and changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

As we begin 2023, after years of representing Boulder City in Carson City, I find myself trying new things, pushing myself, and changing my world. As your mayor, I’m glad we can celebrate the achievements of the council and staff and keep achieving vital things for everyone in our community.

Joe Hardy is mayor of Boulder City. He previously served in the state Assembly and Senate.

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