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Police and fire depts request $1.5 million in capital funding

The City Council heard a presentation at their last meeting on both general capital improvement spending for Fiscal Year 2025 as well as an update on the five-year plan for project spending.

While the biggest money was slated for projects including replacing irrigation equipment in city parks, designing a control tower for the municipal airport, flood control and design of a new city pool, there were other purchases and projects presented, many of which are related to public safety.

The most public-facing of those purchases is a request from the BCPD for $150,000 for crowd control barriers. The L-shaped steel barriers each weigh about 700 pounds and are designed to stop a vehicle by digging into the pavement if struck. The city has had use of some of these barriers via Meridian Barrier Defense for most of 2024 as a test and evaluation period at no cost. However, according to city staff, that period came to an end when it was determined that the units were needed in Las Vegas for events surrounding the recent Formula One racing event.

“Boulder City receives tens of thousands of visitors during major events like Damboree, Art in the Park and Spring Jam,” said Boulder City Police Chief Tim Shea. “Unfortunately, over the past few years, we’ve seen celebrations in other cities turn tragic in a matter of seconds with vehicles careening into crowds, both intentionally and unintentionally. Safety is always our top priority for our residents and visitors. This investment in a portable system used by many agencies, including here in Clark County, makes more sense than permanent structures such as those found in the Las Vegas Strip area. Crowd protection barriers will help us maintain a safe community during large special events.”

A funding ask that is substantially larger — $250,000 — but less evident to the public is to replace the ageing software system used for police dispatch with a more modern version.

“Ours is a shared system that was bought into around 2010 through a one-time grant program,” said Shea. “As with all software, it becomes outdated and the reasons for the shared system no longer exist. We are the only non-state agency in Clark County on the shared system through the State DPS, and one of the few still remaining on the shared system within the state. The restrictions required for a shared system have become problematic. These would be solved when we follow our peer agencies and migrate to a standalone system.”

The Fire department is asking for a cool million dollars for the construction of a training classroom and adjacent parking. It is described as a 50-person classroom with two separate storage rooms, bathrooms, and a small kitchenette area that would be able to be used for police and fire classes, as well as by other city departments and the city council for community meetings.

It will allow for joint police and fire classes that are currently not practical due to limited space in the current facilities. Another potential use for this facility would be in a future regional health emergency where large numbers of people need to assemble.

This would have the appropriate amount of parking based on city planning standards.

As explained by city staff, current choices include a conference room at city hall that is only appropriate for groups of about a dozen. Beyond that, the choices are either council chambers or the Elaine K. Smith Building.

The other fire department request is for $175,000 to remodel and expand the female restroom at the city’s lone firehouse to account for the fact that the city now has two full-time female firefighters.

“The last remodel was done a few years ago, but the city had only one female reserve firefighter at the time,” said Boulder City Fire Chief Will Gray. “As our workforce changes, our housing must change, too.”

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