Every rose has its thorn

In his State of the City address Thursday evening, Mayor Roger Tobler told those assembled that the city’s state is pretty healthy.

For a city that was never intended to be a permanent town, Boulder City has done — and is doing — well. So well, in fact, that it was listed as one of the best places for families to live in the United States by Family Circle magazine in June.

“It was due to the relationships and community created by the residents that this town became a home that has withstood the test of time,” Tobler said.

He also heralded the achievements of the entire City Council and staff members who work hard to ensure the quality of life that Boulder City residents want.

Tobler touted the city’s great schools, affordable homes, low crime rate, financial stability, green spaces and recreational amenities. In particular, he highlighted the city’s five-year financial management plan that focuses on building reserves and reducing the city’s debts by 65 percent during the next 10 years.

He outlined how much progress has been made in achieving the city’s goals and how, by making accelerated payments, the city will reduce its debt quicker and save approximately $11.5 million at the same time.

Tobler also spoke about the city’s recycling program, noting how residential participation has increased by 120 percent and commercial participation has gone up 150 percent.

The majority of his address focused on two key issues for Boulder City residents: Interstate 11, which will bypass the city, and unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.

According to the mayor, construction on the bypass will begin within a year. The project will “improve the mobility for our local residents” and eliminate major congestion on U.S. Highway 93. He worries about the response time of public safety crews when there is an accident or traffic is so backed up it takes hours to travel the highway.

As for the unmanned aircraft systems, he said the selection of Nevada as one of six sites across the country for testing will have an estimated economic impact of $2.5 billion on the state. Boulder City is expected to be the test site for drones 55 pounds and less. This will bring in new jobs and sources of revenue, along with learning opportunities for local students.

The mayor painted a very rosy picture. But we all know that even the most beautiful roses come with a few thorns.

Although he touted the benefits the unmanned aerial systems program and Interstate 11 bypass will bring to Boulder City, not everyone is as optimistic. And their concerns are justified.

Tobler, himself, acknowledges, “I recognize this project (Interstate 11) comes with some serious concern for our local business owners.”

If tourists bypass the city, how will business owners justify keeping their businesses open? Or will they be able to afford to stay in business?

Local pilots also are concerned. They worry about extra traffic at the airport and the possibility of increased accidents from the unmanned aerial systems. Area citizens worry about the loss of their privacy.

For now, I’ll take a wait and see approach. Although I, too, like to stop and smell the roses, I’ve been around long enough to know that you must be wary of those thorns.

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