The time of year approaches to again celebrate Thanksgiving and the blessings we enjoy. And surely living in Boulder City is one of those things to celebrate. The city recently hosted some of our major events of the year with Art in the Park and the Wurst Festival. Each of the events looked to be successful. And, of course, the weather has turned to the range of delightful after the summer heat, with just a touch of winter recently.
The city is seeing improvements being made along Boulder City Parkway. There are inconveniences, but the contractors seem to be doing a good job of providing access to the businesses as the project progresses. The plan was to complete the project in phases so the construction does not linger in any one area.
That plan looks to be working, and the contractors report the work is ahead of schedule. Any inconvenience may be unwelcome by the businesses, but the work was past due and should result in a much more attractive and beneficial roadway for all of us. Sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping will all add to the entrance to our community.
Part of the landscaping will include artwork that highlights the origins of our city with the construction of Hoover Dam. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is funding the majority of the project. That is a benefit to our community, to be certain. The RTC will also be funding work on some of our local streets that are in need of repairs.
The leasing of land for the production of solar energy continues to bring additional revenue to our city with one project under construction and another being planned. More projects are anticipated. We will see this development move closer to our city as the Eldorado Valley fills to meet the demands for renewable energy. Energy production was a foundation that our city was built on with the construction of Hoover Dam and continues to be the major contributor to our success. The companies involved in the new and existing solar projects also contribute to many of our local nonprofits.
Another project planned to take shape in the coming year is preparation for the expansion of the Southern Nevada Railroad Museum area. The design of the museum road between the parkway and the existing railroad tracks is starting. A linear park is planned along the new road reaching from Buchanan Boulevard to Yucca Street as part of the expansion.
Businesses are investing as well in the future of Boulder City with remodeling projects underway at local fast food restaurants and Habeneros Taco Grill slated to fill the former Burger King location near Albertsons. The unsightly plywood has been removed from buildings in our historic downtown, and hopes are for these businesses to thrive again.
I have introduced a repeal of the automatic utility rate increases that were determined in 2016. The repeal of these rate increases has been reported as a loss to the city. I do not believe that is the case. The previous City Council had passed significant rate increases that took effect over the past three years. Boulder City residents now pay millions of dollars more each year for utilities as a result. I believe the utility fund is in good financial shape without asking our residents to continue paying higher rates. The city won’t lose money with the repeal, but the residents will gain from not having to pay ever-increasing rates.
The ballot question I introduced the motion for two years ago asking voters to allow the City Council to refinance existing debt is also scheduled to save ratepayers money. While the question was rejected initially by the voters, it was clarified and passed this past June. The refinancing will allow for the debt to be paid off four years earlier and will result in overall savings of more than $3.5 million.
As we give thanks in this season, I want to recognize the efforts of City Councilman Warren Harhay. Warren passed away recently. He had endeavored to fulfill his role on the City Council and contribute to our community. Our thoughts are with his wife and family, and he will be missed. Thank you, Warren.
Kiernan McManus is the mayor of Boulder City. He is a native of Boulder City first elected to the City Council in 2017.