Public works to ask for $82 million for ‘critical’ work | NevadaAppeal.com
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Public works to ask for $82 million for ‘critical’ work

Despite being told Nevada has no money available for capital improvement projects this budget cycle, Public Works Manager Gus Nunez said Thursday the board has put together a list of $82.76 million in critical projects that must be done.

He said the list approved Wednesday includes “the things we feel need to be done for code life/safety or to keep the buildings in operation.”

Director of Administration Andrew Clinger told the Public Works Board last week falling property values mean an estimated 19 percent drop in property tax collections next year followed by

3 percent more the following year. As a result, he said there won’t be any new bond capacity for the state. In fact, Clinger said the state may not be able to issue new bonds until 2019.

Nunez said he is hoping the treasurer’s office can refinance and move some things around to free up a bit of bonding capacity to cover the critical list because not “arresting decay” will cost the state much more a couple of years down the road.

He said of that total, $63.66 million would have to come from state money. The remaining $19.1 million would be from the federal government or other sources.

He said the bulk of the money would be spent on such things as replacement and repair of heating and air systems, roof repairs, fixing leaky walls and foundations and other necessary maintenance.

“Around here, you can’t get by without heating and, in Las Vegas, you can’t get by without air conditioning,” he said.

But he said there are several security projects on the list such as new locks and door repairs at Nevada prisons.

One of the most expensive projects is completion of the “core expansion” at Southern Desert Correctional Center. He said that prison was designed to handle 750 inmates but has a population closer to 2,100. He said expanding the dining hall and kitchen, laundry and other units is critical. It will cost about $10.9 million to do the work.

SNCC also would get a new perimeter security fence for $3.8 million. But Nunez said that will eliminate the need to staff towers at the prison, saving $1 million a year.

Also on the list is the design of an annex for the Regional Medical Center at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City for $3.7 million. NNCC also will get a new HVAC system for the medical center and work to fix doors and locks for security reasons, as will Warm Springs prison in Carson City.

The Laxalt Building in Carson City also will get a safety upgrade by installing sheetrock as a fire barrier in the basement boiler room. In addition, the 60-year-old Blaisdel Building behind the Capitol will get electrical system repairs and upgrades.

The statewide programs for parking lot paving, roof repairs and ADA projects are also on the critical list, he said. The state normally does between 10 and 20 roofs each year along with 10 disability access projects. He said it would make no sense to allow water damage by not fixing a leaky roof.

In addition to the critical list, Nunez said the board plans to submit a slate of “leveraged projects” – those that bring a significant amount of federal or other non-state funding. He said some transportation projects are 100 percent federally funded and military projects paid at 75-25 percent.

He said a good example of a project leveraged by private funding would be the UNLV Hotel Management building that Harrah’s Corp. has agreed to pay half of.

The list approved, Nunez said, would require $107 million in state money to leverage $80.4 million in other funding.

“The board wanted to recommend those projects to the governor assuming funding becomes available,” he said. “It’ll help in putting people back to work and building necessary infrastructure.”