Tobler: City poised for bright future

In his final State of the City address, Mayor Roger Tobler touted the importance of the Interstate 11 project and commended city staff for helping to reduce Boulder City’s debt at an expedient rate.

“As we enter 2015, our future seems bright,” Tobler said Jan. 22. “Embracing the future means we do not focus on fear.”

The I-11 project is expected to break ground in the coming months, and the mayor acknowledged the importance of keeping Boulder City relevant after construction is complete in 2018.

He said the City Council has been committed to the project for more than a decade and has worked closely with the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, Nevada Transportation Department and Regional Transportation Commission.

Boulder City provided about 270 acres for I-11, and Tobler said the project will reduce traffic congestion and increase safety for the community.

“I am very excited about the benefits that I-11 will bring to Boulder City,” he said. “We also acknowledge how important it will be for our businesses to continue to attract visitors.”

The city recently got the green light from the Transportation Department to rename a segment of U.S. Highway 93 to Boulder City Parkway with the hopes of drawing more attention to drivers traveling on the interstate. The name change is expected to be finalized this year.

The mayor also focused on the city’s financial plan, citing the rapid payments toward the city’s debt and the emergence of more solar revenue to help fund capital projects that had been postponed during the recession.

Revenue from solar leases helped the city maintain its workforce during the worst economic decline in its history, Tobler said. Boulder City renegotiated leases with Techren Solar and KOMIPO that allowed the city to recognize more than $10 million in deferred revenue, he added.

The $10 million, which is more than a third of the city’s general fund, can be used for capital improvements and pay off debt. A portion of that will help pay off the Boulder Creek Golf Course debt 10 years early, he said, and will save the city $1.5 million in interest.

The supplemental income will help the city pay off its Southern Nevada Water Authority debt for a portion of the third intake pipe at Lake Mead. That debt is expected to be paid off three years ahead of schedule. It also will take care of the city’s debt for a raw water line, which is expected to be paid off eight years ahead of schedule.

In total, the early payments will help save the city $8 million in interest to the Water Authority.

The extra money will help fund some projects the city couldn’t produce when the economy tanked. Tobler stressed the importance of updating the city’s aging electrical infrastructure.

Two 50-year-old substation transformers were replaced earlier in the fiscal year, but Tobler said there is still more work to be done.

“We can no longer postpone investments into our infrastructure, specifically our electrical utility,” he said.

The city was able to allocate more than $1 million in capital for the 2015 fiscal year, the mayor said. The money helped the city obtain new police vehicles and funded the I-11 impact study.

“What was once a wish list is now a funded, five-year capital improvement plan,” Tobler said.

The mayor touched on drones, the upcoming Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park project, and the growth of intramural sports in Boulder City. The police department also was recognized for obtaining a $10,000 grant for its campaign that promotes the importance of traffic safety.

In closing, the mayor thanked the council and city staff for all of their hard work throughout the years.

“This community is better and thrives because of your hard work,” he said in a choked voice. “We have weathered through tough years, and we’ve done more with less.”

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee praised Tobler for the work he’s done since becoming mayor, including helping to guide the city through difficult economic times.

“Roger has set up the future for Boulder City for at least a decade,” Lee said. “He’s a great leader. I hate term limits when there are guys like that. He’s a good man.”

Tobler’s term expires in June and he is prevented from running again because of term limits.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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