Jae C. Hong, AP
Sunday, May 13, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Clark County Commissioners will have a chance to weigh in on one of the Las Vegas Strip’s modern-day eyesores. Whether that means the eyesore will get a facelift is anybody’s guess.
Which one? Fontainebleau? Echelon Place?
Echelon Place. Boyd Gaming, which owns the 80-plus-acre plot that was supposed to be home to five high rises, 5,300 hotel rooms and a $4 billion price tag — think CityCenter but just a little scaled down — stopped construction in 2008 when the economy tanked.
Now, Echelon is a skeletal monument to the wild-eyed development that swept across Las Vegas in the mid-2000s. Of course, that fell apart when the housing bubble burst and, well, you know the rest.
Well, is it an eyesore or a reminder to remember that if something appears too good to be true, it typically is?
It’s a reminder, sure. But the Strip is no place for an empty, hulking mass of steel and concrete.
What do commissioners have to do with it?
Boyd is asking for a second extension of time for three use permits and one design review. The company wants extensions until 2018. County staff recommends giving the extension of time “given the current state of the economy.”
Extensions of time are rarely denied. But couldn’t commissioners, scheduled to consider the item Wednesday, make the extension conditional, asking Boyd to cover the thing up with one of those mega-stretchy plastic coverings? Something classy. You know, something beyond your standard Vegas advertisement for female revues or male strippers.
As a matter of fact, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, whose district includes the property, has been working with the owners on just such a project. She said negotiations in the development agreement and a design for beautification of the site had not been finalized, so the issue will likely be postponed for a few weeks.
“It will involve landscaping, a wrap of some kind, something to beautify the front end,” she said.
North Las Vegas’ money problems are on the minds of everyone in government, chiefly because no one wants to be forced to take on the city’s debt and services.
Could North Las Vegas’ problems become the problems of other governmental bodies, such as Clark County?
It could, but it wouldn’t happen right away. Carole Vilardo, Nevada Taxpayers Association president, said if the city couldn’t pay its debts, an orderly process codified in state law would go into effect.
First, the state Committee on Local Government Finance would get involved and examine the city’s books. If that committee announced a financial emergency, it would make a recommendation to the state Department of Taxation on what measures would need to be taken to balance the budget.
What kind of measures?
Raising taxes or fees. Cutting staff. Mothballing facilities. Whatever it takes. But even that’s not an immediate thing. The Department of Taxation is also required to hold public hearings before making any moves. So realistically, if North Las Vegas can’t prove it will balance its books, it could be several months before measures are taken.
The AM/PM on Charleston Boulevard on Wednesday advertised gasoline at about $3.73 per gallon, one of the least expensive prices in the valley. Ever wonder how low the price would go if you could buy in bulk and you were a governmental body?
On Tuesday, the County Commission will consider the purchase of 100,000 gallons of 87 octane gas from Rebel Oil Co. That gasoline, enough to power all county vehicles for a year, would be $327,200 under a deal to be considered with Rebel Oil Co. That would make the per-gallon price $3.272. The last time gas here was that low, on average, was February 2010.
Rebel Oil beat out one other bidder, Thomas Petroleum, which bid $344,770.