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MESQUITE BIDS VEGAS ADIEU

Mesquite's mayor thinks it's high time Mesquite established its own convention and visitors authority. But the firmly entrenched Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority disagrees.

During a March 28 discussion with the Las Vegas authority's board of directors, board members voted 11-1 to reject Mayor Ken Carter's request for withdrawal from the group. It would set a precedent, board members said, and they refused to discuss the issue."It's taxation without representation," Mesquite City Manager Paul Henderson protested.

The cities of Mesquite, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City participate in the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. They are joined together by a legislative agreement that uses room tax monies from these cities to promote tourism, conventions and promotional events, attracting people and generating revenue for this area.

Carter said Mesquite is not getting a proportionate return for the money Mesquite contributes to the authority. "At the present time, we are sending LVCVA between $600,000 and $700,000 a year."

Carter presented amounts the other cities are providing to the authority and the amounts being returned to the cities.

During the third quarter of 1994 (July, August and September), Carter said Mesquite paid $157,800 and received back $66,425. The city of Henderson paid $29,800 and received $145,305. Boulder City paid $22,900 and received $36,534. North Las Vegas paid $11,000 and received, $218,373.

"Collectively, those (other) cities paid $63,700 and received $400,212 from LVCVA. It seems to me, paying triple what other cities are paying and not getting much back is not in the best interests of Mesquite," Carter said.

Six to eight months ago, Mesquite requested assistance and a grant from the authority to build a recreation center in Mesquite. Estimated cost of the projected was $3.5 million. "We felt LVCVA's responsibility was to encourage recreation in Clark County and our project fit that criteria, but we were wrong. They tamed us down," Carter said.

Mesquite City Council members and the mayor feel with the construction of Players Island Resort due to be finished in June of this year, adding 500 rooms, and another 500 rooms at Oasis Hotel due for completion this summer, Mesquite's assessment from the authority will increase to approximately $1 million this year.

"Mesquite is on its way to becoming a destination city," the mayor said.

"We can build our own convention center and recreation area and operate in a manner which is in our own best interest."

Pulling Mesquite out of the authority will take legislative action, said Carter. "The bill for legislative action has been written." He had been hoping for friendly support from the authority, but since this was not forthcoming, the Mesquite City Council is planning their next step.

The possibility of including the four large hotels in the area - Virgin River Hotel and Casino; Oasis Resort and Hotel; Players Island Resort, Hotel and Spa; and Ted Lee Rancho Mesquite - into the city's attempt to extricate itself from the authority may be one avenue to explore, the mayor said.