Legislative Commission Sets Thursday Vote For Laughlin Incorporation Question

CARSON CITY – The Legislative Commission has scheduled a meeting Thursday to consider the question of whether Laughlin residents should get the chance to vote on incorporating their community.

A number of Laughlin residents have asked the commission to support allowing a vote to go forward on the question in June.

Laughlin. / Photo by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons.

Several state lawmakers, including the three Republican state senators who are members of the commission, asked Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, to take up the incorporation matter after it was tabled at a commission meeting last month.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, also asked the commission to take up the issue.

In an interview earlier this month, Lee said Laughlin is much larger in population than Mesquite, the last city to incorporate in Nevada in 1984. Mesquite had about 1,200 residents when it incorporated, while Laughlin’s population is about 7,500.

“I feel they have every right to pick up their flag and charge forward,” he said. “They’ve jumped through all the hurdles, and even if they get a vote to incorporate, if they financially cannot do it they just won’t be able to. But at least this moves it forward to give these patriots down there a chance to build their own community.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, who sponsored the legislation allowing for consideration of incorporation, said earlier this month he supports giving Laughlin residents a chance to decide their future.

“Myself, I think it is fiscally feasible and I think that the citizens of Laughlin deserve to have the right to have that presented to them in such a way that they say, ‘we want to have this level of service and pay this much money in taxes’ and present it that way and say, OK, we want it or we don’t,” he said. “And that is what this is about.”

Dave Floodman, president of the nonprofit Laughlin Economic Development Corporation, said there was bipartisan support in the Nevada Legislature in 2011 to allow consideration of the incorporation question. SB262 passed unanimously in the Assembly and by a 16-5 vote in the Senate.

While a feasibility study of the incorporation prepared by the Nevada Department of Taxation found incorporation was not feasible, a separate study by a reputable California company and commissioned by his group found that it would be feasible, he said.

The two reviews differed on the cost of providing police and fire protection, Floodman said.

“Our position is that the two different scenarios should be decided by the people in Laughlin,” he said.

There was some suggestion by Hardy that the Laughlin question was tied to a completely separate issue involving a regulation sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller to allow him to assess a $200 annual fee on many home-based businesses that was also in front of the Legislative Commission on Feb. 15.

An official close to Senate Democrats denied there was any link.

But the issue became moot with approval of the Miller regulation by the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations earlier this month. The panel voted 4-2 on party lines with Democrats in support, to approve the regulation, which has now taken effect.

The Clark County Commission previously voted to reject a vote on the Laughlin city hood question.