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May 6, 2015

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State board slashes money for Las Vegas DMV, other construction projects

CARSON CITY — The state Public Works Board has cut back funding for construction of a $23.2 million Department of Motor Vehicles building in Las Vegas but is moving forward with design of a hotel college building at UNLV.

The board on Tuesday approved a $99.5 million construction budget for the next two years, with much of it earmarked to maintain existing systems. There are few new projects.

Agencies had requested 201 projects at a cost of $528 million to be financed by the state and other funding sources. The board staff reduced that to $127 million, and the board sought deeper cuts.

Of the $99.5 million approved, $81.4 million would come from the state.

The Department of Motor Vehicles wanted to use $23 million in highway funds to replace its 36-year-old building on East Sahara Avenue. The board cut that request to $2.1 million for design only.

The board agreed to use $3.2 million in unused money from the 2009 budget to design an academic building for the UNLV hotel college.

That project, according to Public Works Director Gus Nunez, will eventually cost $50 million, with the state and UNLV sharing the cost. UNLV will have to solicit contributions to pay its share.

The board also eliminated $2.2 million to replace cell door locks at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.

The board approved spending $692,287 to move the state’s execution chamber from the closed Nevada State Prison in Carson City to the maximum security prison in Ely. There hasn’t been a death penalty carried out in Nevada since 2006, but officials said the federal government directed the switch.

Also approved was $1.1 million for replacement of the boiler at the state women’s prison in North Las Vegas.

The former Las Vegas Metro Police building, which has been taken over by the state, will get $319,287 to design improvements to the roof and exterior insulation, installing a fire sprinkler system and other changes.

Budget requests by state agencies will be released Oct. 15.

The Economic Forum, which predicts how much the state can spend in the next two years, holds its first meeting in November and a final session in December.

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