Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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Politics:

Clark County to vote on 2015 budget, news rack takeover on Strip

Clark County Commissioners will decide whether to take over hundreds of news racks that line the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip during its meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The commission also will receive a final briefing on medical marijuana businesses before it picks the winning applications next month.

The meeting will be at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

News racks

Commissioners have long targeted news racks on the Strip as eyesores that clog sidewalks.

An attempt to ban news racks on the Strip outright fell apart last year after private owners of the boxes threatened a lawsuit.

A new plan emerged in March that would keep the news racks on the Strip but under county ownership.

A county takeover doesn’t face the same legal hurdles and has drawn initial support from commissioners.

They will vote on an ordinance approving the change in ownership Tuesday. Replacing the 288 racks on the Strip with county-owned structures would cost $300,000 to $400,000.

Current news rack owners would receive permits allowing them to continue distributing publications through the county-owned boxes.

Medical marijuana

Commissioners will begin sorting through 187 medical marijuana business applications next month, but it’s unclear what criteria they’ll use to pick their preferred candidates.

On Tuesday, county staff will preview the application review process. Staff is expected to lay out a framework commissioners can use to compare applicants against each other when awarding the limited number of licenses.

Commissioners will look at a variety of factors, including the location, ownership and financials of the proposed businesses. But the decision will ultimately come down to their discretion.

The commission will review and vote on applications at a public meeting on June 5.

Applicants who receive the county’s blessing will then have to go through a separate approval process with the state later this summer.

County budget

The county commission will vote during a special meeting at 10 a.m. Monday to finalize its $1.3 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The county is projecting a slight $8.5 million uptick over the next year in its general fund revenues, which pay for operations.

It plans to use the extra money to create 40 new general fund positions. Another 54 positions will be added using non-general fund revenue.

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