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City of Las Vegas annexes state hospital

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By David Giuliani

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday decided to annex the state hospital — in what is believed to the biggest addition to the city in four decades.

The council voted unanimously to annex the 153 acres of the hospital property and the neighboring land of Eloisa Peña. Peña’s property was needed to connect the state hospital property to the city.

Elmer Martinez, the city’s community development director, said the annexation of the hospital was the first of a three-part annexation plan in that area of the city. He said the city and the hospital began discussions on the annexation in May 2009.

State hospital official Morris Madrid said the annexation is a win-win for the city and the hospital, which is Las Vegas’ biggest employer. He said the city would stand to gain in sales taxes in connection with economic activity at the hospital. Also, with the hospital in the city’s jurisdiction, it will help in the city’s efforts to get federal community development funds, he said.

As for the hospital, Madrid said, it will get lower city utility rates. Customers outside city limits have to pay more.

Mayor Alfonso Ortiz said he hoped that the city could annex other areas that already receive city utilities.

“There are a lot of advantages to it,” he said.

Councilwoman Diane Moore said she liked to see annexation of large areas, not small areas, which she called “spot zoning.”

Outside the meeting, Alex Aragon, the chairman of the city Planning and Zoning Commission, said the city eventually hoped to annex the Camp Luna neighborhood, which is north of the state hospital and has city utilities.