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Marilyn Kirkpatrick Wants to Make Clark County Work Better

People – even people who have lived here for a while – get confused about the difference between Clark County and Las Vegas, and the duties of the City Council vs. the County Commission.

As a bit of a primer, Las Vegas encompasses downtown and areas east and west of downtown, and is generally considered to go as far south as Charleston. Clark County is everything else – including the Strip and towns such as Laughlin and Mesquite.

So Clark County Commissioners have a lot on their plates.

Marilyn Kirkpatrick is used to that. Kirkpatrick is a veteran state legislator and was speaker of the Assembly in 2013.

She is known as a bit of a policy wonk, and someone who gets things done. Last fall, when Tom Collins left his position on the Clark County Commission, Governor Sandoval appointed Kirkpatrick to take his place. Now, she’s running to keep that office.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

What is the biggest issue facing the county?

The biggest issue facing the county today and especially in District B is public safety. You've seen we've had a large about of violence within District B. We're working everyday with Metro to address those issues and to get the services on track. That is really an issue across Clark County as a whole.

Support comes from

There are some empty developments along the Strip:

We have the Fontainebleau. We have Elon. We have the World Resorts and we have the conversations on the convention authority moving forward with an expansion. So there is a lot of new things coming and we always have to be on the cutting edge in Southern Nevada.

The question has come up stadium or more convention space?

We have to look to have a balance. We have to be able to upgrade our convention center. People are doing that around the country. They're spending lots of dollars to do that. But an opportunity for a stadium is exciting. It's new. But there's a lot of details that need to be worked out. I think that the legislature is probably going to have their hands full on trying to determine how they provide both and who pays for it.

Will this cost Clark County anything? 

It depends on how it is done. You're talking about changing the sales tax dollars. That effects everybody's c-tax dollars, which is Clark County and all the municipalities. If you're talking about the live entertainment dollars, there is a portion of that that goes back to the resort corridor and also to the state. 

What is the elevated expressway and why do we need it?

When we plan for transportation today, it could be three to five years before we actually see any type of movement. 

So, we have to start planning today. We have to start having those hard discussions on where we're going for the future.

We have a capacity issue on how many cars can actually travel, and it's very important that we get them from the airport to their destination. And we have to look at alternatives. This doesn't take away from any pedestrian or any light rail, but this does allow us to start looking at designing what could work. There will be tons of studies. There will be tons of community outreach that goes into this. That's really about a nine-month process. If we don't start today, in two years from now, we'll still be having that discussion and we really do have to move forward.

Explain why you like this expressway idea?

The EIS studies, which are the environment impact studies, those tend to take 200 to 300 days. And I don't know that we can't have the discussion that if we built an elevated ramp or flyover that went across, that we couldn't offer or design with in it, maybe it's a pedestrian one at one point. 

Nothing is off of the table and you really have to start by having those discussions. So we have to look at what we can do quickly. What we can do that's a cost-benefit analysis so that we're being good stewards of the dollars. And we have to look at our vision for the long term. 

I don't think that there couldn't be an opportunity to maybe put an express tram system on an elevated rail or the elevated expressway. 

County residents are going to vote in November on whether to extend a special property tax to pay for firefighters:

I think it has served it's purpose for a long time. It helps with the capital improvements that we need to ensure that we do have the fire stations and we do have apparatus that we need. 

What I do know about voters in Nevada is if they can see the true assets for what they're getting when they vote for these types of extensions then they have the opportunity to decide.

What are the issues surrounding changing the cap on property taxes:

Based on how the formula was put in place, it's a slower return. So they're not getting back up to where they were in 2005. So property taxes now are inline with where they were in 2009. 

So, it doesn't allow for a quick reset to allow local government to have those dollars and including education to have those dollars to be part of their current budgets. 

It's good tax policy to go back every 10 years and re-evaluate, because the economy changes over time.

 

Guests

Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick

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