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Request for helicopter withdrawn

Boulder City Hospital will not have a permanent helicopter, for now. CEO Tom Maher said the hospital withdrew its application for one during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Maher said CareFlight, an emergency response air ambulance service, wants to negotiate a contract extension with Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, so the Boulder City Hospital formally withdrew its application to have a permanent base in Boulder City.

The Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit to keep a helicopter at Boulder City Hospital for at least one year during its June 18 meeting, but resident Yvonne Cruz filed an appeal with the city.

Other residents collected signatures to show their disapproval of a permanent helicopter at the hospital, and many of them filled the City Hall chambers Tuesday night to voice their opinions. Their concerns focused on noise complaints, safety issues and the potential depreciation to home values with a helicopter permanently based so close to residential areas.

The hospital already has a helipad for emergencies, but having a permanent helicopter would change the number of takeoffs and landings to two or three per day, which equates to between 720 to 1,080 per year.

According to Boulder City Hospital, CareFlight now lands at the helipad approximately once a month.

Other actions taken during Tuesday night’s meeting included approving an increase in the monthly water service charge to help stabilize the city’s utility fund.

According to the 50-50 plan set forth by the council, a majority of Boulder City residents will see an additional $2.36 increase in their monthly water bill. The costs will cover half of the approximately $577,000 owed to Southern Nevada Water Authority for the 2015 fiscal year. The authority had to repay debt it accumulated after the economy stumbled in 2008, Finance Director Shirley Hughes said.

The increase is scheduled to take place for all bills rendered on or after Aug. 4.

The City Council also approved a memorandum of understanding with Sempra U.S. Gas & Power toward the negotiation of a lease agreement for the Copper Mountain Solar 4 project.

Sempra will pay $1,500 per acre on 687 acres of land in the Eldorado Valley energy zone, which, according to the agreement, will account for more than $1 million per year in lease revenue for Boulder City.

Sempra also agreed to a 2.5 percent increase in rent if it chooses to renew the lease after the initial 20-year period.

Mayor Roger Tobler thanked Sempra for its cooperation after both parties were unable to reach an agreement during the June 24 meeting.

“I’m satisfied we have an agreement that’s going to get us to the next level,” Councilman Rod Woodbury said.

Councilman Duncan McCoy also was pleased with the agreement reached between the City Council and Sempra.

“I’m really glad to see that everybody’s reached a comfort level,” he said. “Because when you’re talking about something that has a long-term impact on the community, comfort level is really important.”

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