Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

Currently: 63° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

City Hall project gets support, leaders note risks

Top city of Las Vegas staffers and most of the City Council expressed continued support for the new City Hall project at the council’s Wednesday meeting, reasoning that the risks of delay outweighed those of moving forward despite the faltering economy.

The council approved a preliminary financial assessment report and directed staffers to complete a detailed study, which will suggest what method of financing should be used for the project and exactly how much it will cost. No money was allocated in Wednesday’s vote.

Sometime between September and the end of the year, the council will revisit the issue and decide whether the city can afford a new City Hall, which at latest estimate could cost up to $267 million.

Supporters argued that by delaying the new City Hall, each of the potential major new developments connected to the deal – including two possible new casinos and a sports arena – could falter, indefinitely setting back the plans of Mayor Oscar Goodman and the council for a revitalized downtown.

Plus, thousands of construction and other jobs would be lost, they argued.

New City Hall is like the first in a line of carefully constructed dominoes, Goodman said.

“If one falls, they all fall…I don’t think we have a choice unless we want to throw up our hands” and in effect give up, he said.

Not every council member was as enthusiastic – a glaring departure from a once-unified council front in favor of the project. Concern stemmed from the recession, and the risks inherent in moving forward when the timing of a recovery could not predicted.

Newly elected Councilman Stavros Anthony issued the only vote against accepting the report.

“It’s too risky a project,” Anthony said. “The timing isn’t right.”

Others, including council members Steve Wolfson and Lois Tarkanian, said they were reserving judgment until the weightier vote later this year comes before them. Wolfson said it may prove to be the toughest vote of his career.

One repeated concern, even among those who expressed support for the plan, was the method of financing for the project – and if the city’s general fund would be put at risk. Staffers conceded this was a possibility if a slowed economy lowered the amount raised by the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.