Las Vegas Sun

January 22, 2018

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City/County Q&A:

County, North Las Vegas working behind scenes to resolve Sloan Channel controversy


Steve Marcus

Treated wastewater from the new City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility flows down the Sloan channel behind Cliff Chapman’s daughter’s home Thursday, June 23, 2011. The city originally had planned to build a pipeline to transport the treated wastewater to Lake Mead but the city is now releasing treated water into the channel which flows into Lake Mead.

It’s been quiet in the Clark County Government Center the past few weeks. The County Commission has a rare three-week lull between meetings and no one wants to stir up anything until the election is over. But these quiet times typically mean much is afoot beneath the surface. Indeed, that’s the case now.

What’s going on in the shadows?

A couple of things. Word is, county sources say, a long-awaited solution to the stinking, bug-riddled Sloan Channel treated-wastewater mess could be on its way.

Some background first: In 2011, North Las Vegas completed its own wastewater treatment plant, but the cash-strapped municipality didn’t receive anticipated funding for a pipeline to deliver its treated water to Lake Mead.

Without first getting permission from Clark County, North Las Vegas discharged treated wastewater into the county’s Sloan Channel. Then North Las Vegas sued the county in federal court to confirm that it had the right to use the channel.

Within weeks, residents along the channel began complaining of the smell of rotting algae, which grew in the warm, discharged water. Then there were the bugs. County officials said the water also created a nice environment for egg-laying insects.

Even scrubbing the channel with brushes affixed to the front of county pick-up trucks didn’t appear to stem the tide of stench and insects.

Now the two sides, according to County Commissioner Tom Collins, are close to an agreement. It generally involves a deal where the county would agree to build a multimillion-dollar pipeline from the plant to existing pipelines already emptying into Lake Mead.

The lawsuit is expected to be heard in January; Collins hopes a deal can be worked out beforehand.

What would the deal say?

Generally, Clark County would build the pipeline for North Las Vegas, but the city would have to pay back most of the cost under what sources termed a “reasonable” payment plan.

If that’s a long-term payment plan, is consideration being given to North Las Vegas' dire financial straits? Some question whether the city will even exist in a few years.

No one we talked to mentioned that potential in regard to the Sloan Channel.

Well, when can we expect to hear whether this deal is approved or nixed?

Sources say nothing gets done until after the election.

• • •

This isn’t the biggest surprise, but word is out that a study of pedestrian traffic on the Las Vegas Strip is close to being finalized and could be brought to the County Commission for consideration in mid-November.

What’s so important about the study, which is obviously going to show lots of people walk on those sidewalks?

The study grew out of a committee established last year to study the growing disorder and general griminess of the Strip.

As a result, commissioners have so far approved ordinances to limit pets on the Strip; to forbid peddling on Strip rights-of-way, which include sidewalks; and requiring men and women who hand out fliers to pick up discarded fliers within 25 feet of where they stand. The commission also has banned dangerous objects, such as fireworks, knives, skateboards and toy guns.

The pedestrian study will be able to point out bottlenecks, places on the Strip that make it dangerous to walk because there is so much crowding people can be forced into the street if they want to move forward.

What causes those bottlenecks?

Structural issues many times, sources say. There’s also a sense the handbillers, many of whom distribute fliers for outcall services, cause bottlenecks by congregating in a few specific places.

So a pedestrian study would help the county if it wants to restrict the so-called “time, place and manner” of certain Strip activities, such as handbilling?

Maybe. But not necessarily. The outcall services have such a good record fighting restrictions on their First Amendment rights, sources say, the county is loath to turn the study into a “get handbillers” free-for-all. If anything, sources add, it will direct the county and casinos toward existing structures that are hindering pedestrian traffic.

• • •

The cost of getting a work card, reported here last week, has changed.

To what?

Metro reduced fees for work cards in July, and a spokeswoman said a typical work card now costs $77.50. Metro's website lists additional charges for other services, if needed, such as $29 for gaming/private investigator licensing board registration; and $14 for fingerprint cards or $18 for electronic submission of fingerprints.

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