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LV City Council Fines Silverstone Golf Course, Transfers $3.9 Million For Firefighter Overtime


The troubled Silverstone Golf Course dominated conversation at Wednesday’s June 1 Las Vegas City Council meeting. Several homeowners wearing green “Save Silverstone” T-shirts showed up to complain of safety issues and falling property values.

The northwest club has been sold twice since September 2015, when it closed and its water was shut off. Since then, the current owner, Stoneridge Parkway LLC, has done nothing to rehab the property.

Lawns have dried up, ponds have turned green, and buildings have fallen into disrepair, covered in graffiti and in some cases taken over by squatters.

The city's penalty? A lien of $97,380, which includes $2,880 in inspection fees and $94,500 in daily civil penalties.

City Councilman Bob Coffin told KNPR's State of Nevada that he hopes the course will be restored.

“They’re in a situation where they’re making it untenable for people to live there," Coffin said of the course's owners. "That’s called 'creating an attractive nuisance.'"

"Attractive" in city government parlance means attracting a problem. Coffin said the owner's decisions are hurting the property of those who live around the course.

City Council also approved a transfer of $3.9 million from its general fund to its public safety fund to cover overtime pay for firefighters. In the past five years, the city has spent $23 million over budget on firefighter overtime.

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“The firefighters understand our problem, but they don’t want to let go of this," Coffin said.

Coffin said the 24-hour shifts that firefighters work puts a strain on them, both physically and emotionally. However, he believes they have "grown accustomed" to the overtime, which he says is "bad for them and it’s bad for the city.”

He said he'd like to see more fighters working shorter hours.

“I would rather have more firefighters, paying them a little less money and having them on 12-hour shifts or 10-hour shifts, but that’s going to be a long ways away.”

The City Council also gave police $440,000 to tackle crime "hot spots" over the next 13 weeks.

Coffin blasted the Clark County Commission's handling of overtime for Metro Police. At the June 1 meeting, City Manager Betsy Fretwell said she had reached out to the county to discuss the funding of overtime pay, but had not heard back.

“We’re going to have to steal money from parts of our budget to supplement the Metro budget," Coffin said. "It is too bad … it could be one of the two partners doesn’t want to fulfill its end of the bargain.”

Coffin said the unincorporated parts of the county don't have the same crime problems as the city's urban core.

The Clark County Sheriff's office and the Las Vegas Police combined to become the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in the '70s. Coffin said he would look at separating them again "in a minute," because of how the funding of the agency "isn't working." 

A bill that was proposed but not discussed at the meeting would allow parking tickets to be paid by food and toy donations in lieu of money. The bill is sponsored by Councilman Bob Beers.

"Councilman Beers wants to make a point that parking tickets are not just to raise revenue for a city, they are to control the flow of available parking in a city so that merchants and others - customers, obviously - can have access to their businesses and the businesses they choose to shop at," Coffin said. "We're not really making a profit on parking tickets. What we're trying to do is keep people moving."

Coffin said they don't have a program set up, that this bill would merely authorize the program to be set up.

"I don't quite know what we would do if someone offered us a frozen turkey in place of a parking ticket," he said.

Guests

Bob Coffin, Las Vegas City Councilman

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