The Las Vegas City Council had a lengthy discussion with the members of the Charter Commission at Wednesday’s meeting, during which commission members defended amendments they proposed and council inquired about potential additions.

City of Las Vegas

Included in the amendments the Charter Commission proposed were adding four additional councilors and giving the council more balanced control over who is named the City Manager and other key administration roles.

The charter commission said their recommended changes were brought forward to avoid issues of self-interest that have plagued past administrations. They said reverting back to having eight councilors, which was previously the case, may lead to longer meetings, but a better government, with fewer opportunities for “stagnant votes,” or voting along the same lines on every issue.

Additionally, instead of direct appointments by the mayor, the charter commission has proposed allowing the mayor to present two qualified candidates for city manager, city attorney, city clerk and police chief to the council, and allow them to choose between the candidates.

There was a lengthy discussion between members of the commission and the council regarding the role of the commission and how to go about putting additional amendments to a vote at the next municipal election in March. The council agreed to have additional meetings to discuss the charter and additional amendments before the end of 2021.

Overall, the discussion revealed that neither side was fully satisfied with the results of the Charter Commission. Members of the commission expressed they would have been able to do a more complete review of the charter with more amendments given more time to meet, while members of the governing body were disappointed that more of their suggestions were not taken seriously and implemented into the amendments.

According to the existing charter, a Charter Commission is supposed to review the Charter every five years. However, it had been more than a decade since the last full review had been completed.

In another discussion, the issue of code enforcement was a topic of conversation Wednesday evening.

Councilors brought up several issues related to code enforcement, and the lack of enforcement as it relates to making sure weeds are kept in check, properties are maintained and abandoned vehicles are handled. Councilors said they have repeatedly brought these issues to community development, but say nothing is being done to make the situation better. Romero presented pictures of problematic properties in his ward as an example.

However, City Manager Leo Maestas explained that code enforcement is taking care of a good percentage of the city’s problematic properties, and that there will always be issues with people refusing to take the steps necessary to become compliant.

During business items, the council approved a resolution better regulating short term rental properties in the city. The ordinance establishes what is expected of people renting out short term properties. Going forward, money collected by short term rentals will partially go toward Lodger’s Tax, to better benefit the community.

Council also discussed the priorities for the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, which appears to be remaining similar to last year. However, some projects are going to be moving higher on the list, such as road projects in the city.

The City Council will next meet next Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. for its second regular meeting of the month.

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