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August 29, 2014

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Las Vegas council scheduled to decide fate of high-tech parking meters for downtown

Whether to install new parking meters downtown at a cost of $1.4 million will be up for a vote Wednesday by the Las Vegas City Council, one month after members asked for further study on the proposal.

The council will debate the parking meters and plenty of other issues, including several economic development-related items, at its regularly scheduled meeting (http://www5.lasvegasnevada.gov/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1268&doctype=Agenda) at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Replacing parking meters downtown

The council was presented with a plan in January that would replace 1,200 coin-operated parking meters in the downtown area with 233 computerized multibay meters, which accept credit and debit cards as well as coins.

Council members generally expressed enthusiasm for the $1.4 million project, but balked when it came time to award the contract to New Jersey-based company Parkeon.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian wanted more feedback from customers who would be affected by the change before signing off on the deal. Councilman Bob Coffin raised several issues, including how the meters would be upgraded and maintained in the future.

Staff is expected to report back with answers to the council’s questions on Wednesday, at which time the project contract could be awarded. If approved, it would take several months to install the new meters.

Incentive for new bars up for renewal

A popular program that waives licensing fees for new bars in the Fremont East and Arts districts downtown will be up for renewal on Wednesday.

The proposed ordinance would continue waiving the $20,000 tavern-limited license fee for bars in the Fremont East District and the $50,000 urban lounge license fee for bars in the Arts District.

Since the program was initiated in 2010, the city has waived the licensing fee for 16 businesses at a cost of $540,000.

Support for video game developer continues

In December, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved a $600,000 earmark for video game developer Take-Two Interactive Software, which is relocating from California to downtown Las Vegas.

The money is the first to be paid out of a $10 million state catalyst fund that can be used to attract new businesses to Nevada or help existing businesses expand. But before Take-Two can receive the money, it needs the city of Las Vegas to agree to act as the pass-through agency for the funding.

The council, which already approved a $600,000 incentive package of its own for the game maker using redevelopment agency funds, will likely approve the agreement as part of its consent agenda at its Wednesday meeting.

As the pass-through entity, the city’s Economic and Urban Development Department will be responsible for distributing the money to the game developer when it meets agreed-upon metrics.

Under the agreement, Take-Two can receive $120,000 per year for five years to help cover moving expenses and capital costs.

The company has said it would bring 150 jobs with an average pay of $18 per hour to downtown Las Vegas.

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