AD: MCJAD: Mesquite GamingAD: GMAF

The most popular online news source, publishing news as it happens in Mesquite, Nevada. * 702.346.6432 * * Barbara Ellestad, Publisher * ALL Content Copyright 2011-2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This week's poll

Has the NSA gone too far in its data collection efforts?

Yes, they need to stop
No, they are keeping us safe
I don't care

View Poll Report

one or more words required
all words required
forced & ordered phrase
Multi forced & ordered phrase
words with exceptions
 Issue date:
Date Format: dd-mm-yyyy

Employee insurance, Lobbyist contract on Water Board meeting agenda
Posting Date: 10/14/2013

By Barbara Ellestad

General Manager’s report includes discussion about prayer at meetings

When the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors meet Tuesday, Oct. 15 they will discuss employee health insurance benefits and possible upcoming changes related to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

The Directors have several options to choose from: 1) renew the current policy in November with a 2.1 percent increase; 2) renew the policy in December with a 3.5 percent increase; 3) wait until the current year plan expires June 30, 2014 and renew at a 64.2 percent rate increase.

If the District implements one of the early renewal option, it will save approximately $12,000 per month.

Staff is recommending the Directors choose one of the early renewal options and allow the District time to evaluate other options during the budget cycle next spring.

The District’s current insurance policy does not expire until June 30, 2014. The District now pays out approximately $19,700 a month for employee health insurance. If it chooses the Nov. 1 renewal date those costs will rise to $20,123 a month. A Dec. 1 renewal date will cause the monthly rate to rise to $20,417. If the District waits until next July to renew, monthly premiums will soar to $31,310.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nevada, the District’s health insurance carrier says “With the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) in 2014, a Community Rating will be implemented for employer groups with 2-50 employees. This is projected to cause a large rate increase for many of these employer groups. The early renewal offer allows these affected employer groups an ‘Early Renewal.’”

“Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will drive change in both the look and pricing of insurance coverage for small employers like you. For some groups, this will be a positive shift. However, other groups may see a significant increase in premiums as a result of this law. Early renewal buys you valuable time as you evaluate the best long-term strategy for your business,” the documents from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nevada say.

Also at the VVWD Board meeting, Warren Hardy will provide an update on current negotiations with Clark County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and others on changes to the Virgin River Habitat Conservation and Recovery Program. Changing the plan from three fees and two separate plans to one fee, one plan has been under consideration for over 15 months.

Ryan Wheeler, Forsgren Associates, will present an update on the Bunkerville Secondary System study that was completed in April 2013. The study’s report offers six options for the Directors: 1) abandon the system; 2) do not make any changes to the current system; 3) enhance water delivery through proactive management; 4) abandon residential connection – high volume users; 5) utilize Virgin River water through VVWD shares; or 6) utilize Virgin River water and relocate existing facilities.

The Bunkerville secondary irrigation system was placed into service in 1999. The source of water is

a shallow well located near the Virgin River, half a mile north of Bunkerville. The quality of the water from the well is very poor – so poor that the District blends the water with 67 percent potable water and 33 percent secondary water to get a sufficient quality of water for irrigation and operations and maintenance purposes.

Wheeler and District Staff recommend the Directors choose option 1 to abandon the system.

The Directors will also discuss options for keeping or changing its contract with the Furman Group, the District’s federal government lobbyist in Washington D.C. The current contract expires Nov. 15. The District pays the Furman Group $72,000 per year for its services plus expenses.

The City of Mesquite also contracts with the Furman Group at a cost of $96,000 per year plus expenses. A proposal has been in front of the City and the Water District to combine both contracts into one. Many issues on which the Furman Group lobbies are the same for the City and Water District.

Aaron Baker, City Staff, and Kevin Brown, VVWD General Manager, have negotiated a shared total cost of $110,000 reducing the total amount paid by the two government entities by $58,000 a year. If the Directors agree to a shared contract, the District annual payment will be $35,000 reducing its costs by just over half. The Furman Group will not receive any reimbursement for expenses unless the District asks the Group’s representative to attend more than one meeting per year in Mesquite.

Brown is recommending the Directors allow him to finalize the amended contract with the Furman Group and to work with the City to construct an interlocal agreement for the combined contract.

Brown’s General Manager report includes an item related to public meeting prayer at the beginning of each Board meeting. Brown says “The District received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation requesting the District do away with the prayer at the opening of the Board meeting. This issue was dealt with several years ago with the Board decision to keep prayer as part of the District board agenda.”

Typically, the Board President calls upon one of the Directors to say a prayer and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The City of Mesquite recently instituted a prayer at the beginning of its City Council meetings with a pastor from a different church or religion leading it.

“Historically, District board members have been the only persons to pray at the District meetings. Congressional, state, and municipal governments throughout the country, including Nevada, include a non-denominational prayer,” Brown says in his GM report. “I recommend the District consider maintaining prayer as part of our agenda, and similar to the City of Mesquite, allow for others besides board members to offer prayer at the District Board meetings.”

Since the item is technically not agendized, it’s unclear whether the Directors can address the issue.

The VVWD Board of Directors meeting begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the District headquarters at 500 Riverside Road. The public is invited to attend.


  • Posted Date: 10/14/2013
    In other words, they're going to start treating small groups the same as they've been treating individuals for years. Welcome to the club.
    By: Bill Miller
    Opinion (2000 Characters)  
    Publish My Opinion    
    CAPTCHA Image
    Reload Image
    03/31/2014 - MCJ bids adieu
    03/31/2014 - Watson wears Ms. Sr. Mesquite Crown
    03/28/2014 - Mesquite Gaming bringing new events to town
    03/27/2014 - Three VVHS Students dead, two injured in DUI Collision
    03/27/2014 - BLM Land closed for Cattle Round-up
    03/26/2014 - Council delays Splash Pad project again - Video
    03/25/2014 - D-I-Y set for Bunkerville Secondary Water system change
    03/25/2014 - Cattle Roundup delayed again
    03/24/2014 - MSG Spells Athletic Fun and Fame for Seniors
    03/24/2014 - High School Mentors enjoy first-year success
    03/24/2014 - February Real Estate Closings continue drop-off
    03/21/2014 - Eureka proposes new community initiative program
    03/21/2014 - Mesquite City Manager addresses community concerns
    03/21/2014 - Lonetti gives Johnson, Coache water right ownership
    03/21/2014 - More construction starts Monday in Virgin River gorge
    03/20/2014 - Lonetti’s Water focus of VVWD lawsuits
    03/20/2014 - Jobs, economy, Obamacare on Congressional Candidate’s mind-Video
    03/19/2014 - Pioneer Blvd road repair starts soon-Video
    03/18/2014 - ‘Scammer Mom’ gets year in jail
    03/18/2014 - Innis speaks out on IRS scandal, racism-Video
    03/17/2014 - Innis weighs in on Energy, Gold Butte, Margins Tax-Video
    03/15/2014 - Power, Water Board Election Candidates finalized
    03/14/2014 - Republican Congressional Candidate Innis speaks out on issues – Part I
    03/13/2014 - Councilman Discusses Econ Development with Chamber-Video
    03/12/2014 - Mesquite eliminated from new warehouse business consideraton
    03/12/2014 - Council delays action on Union contract
    03/11/2014 - Another try at Cattle Round-up may be imminent
    03/10/2014 - February Building Permits double in value
    03/10/2014 - Man involved in MPD Shoot-out sentenced
    03/07/2014 - Theatre Group Cuts Capers in “Anything Goes”
    03/07/2014 - February Restaurant Review – Could your kitchen pass
    03/06/2014 - Mesquite is Mad About Movies
    03/06/2014 - Testimony reveals antics of former VVWD General Manager
    03/05/2014 - Start practicing 10-digit telephone dialing
    03/05/2014 - Water Board says No to most agenda items - Video
    03/05/2014 - Two Bulldogs make All-League, FitzSimons named Coach of the Year
    03/04/2014 - No wage hikes in new City Employee Union Contract
    03/04/2014 - City releases statement on Subdivision methane gas problem
    03/03/2014 - Mesquite January Visitor Volume soars like Hot Air Balloon
    03/03/2014 - Water District, Power District Election filings open today
    02/28/2014 - Old Mesquite Landfill Methane gas leaks threaten nearby homes
    02/27/2014 - Bridge improvement work progresses in I-15 Virgin River Gorge
    02/27/2014 - Mesquite City Council approves Recreation fee increases-Video
    02/27/2014 - Masterminding the Water District 2005 Water Share Purchase -Continuing Series
    02/26/2014 - Mesquite City Council approves new Bikeway Plan-Video
    02/26/2014 - MRBI future tabled by Mesquite City Council-Video
    02/26/2014 - Mesquite Honors Its Finest with Annual Awards-Video
    02/25/2014 - New Year brings slight dip in Mesquite real estate transactions
    02/25/2014 - Mesquite Building Permits get off to slow start in January
    02/25/2014 - Mesquite Teamsters Union Contract up for vote this week
    02/24/2014 - Flight School opens in Mesquite
    02/24/2014 - Mesquite Off-Road Weekend brings out the best-Video, Slideshows
    02/24/2014 - Mesquite Is All Action, Arts, and Elegance-Slideshow
    02/21/2014 - MCJ scores victories in all Court hearings
    02/20/2014 - Former VVWD Hydrologist admits ownership in water right trade
    02/19/2014 - VVWD Board approves Pioneer Blvd road repair -Video
    02/17/2014 - Mesquite Was All Heart during Valentine Week
    02/17/2014 - Mancuso celebrates 110th major milestone - Slideshow
    02/14/2014 - Suspect in Mesquite double murder pleads guilty
    02/14/2014 - Nevada AG rules against MRB in Open Meeting Law complaint
    02/13/2014 - Attention Business Owners - MRB has money for you - Video
    02/13/2014 - Mesquite Council approves RDA loan refinancing – Video
    02/12/2014 - Mesquite celebrates Annie’s 110 birthday - Video
    02/12/2014 - First Council to have actionable goals, Mesquite Mayor declares-Video
    02/11/2014 - Exploring Domestic Violence in Mesquite-Part II-Video
    02/10/2014 - Exploring Domestic Violence in Mesquite-Part I-Video
    02/10/2014 - One Ring Phone calls are the latest scam
    02/08/2014 - Beware of water insurance salesmen
    02/07/2014 - Restaurant inspections go well in January
    02/06/2014 - Plane crash averted, Pilot lands safely - Slideshow
    02/05/2014 - December Visitor Volume biggest jump in seven years
    02/04/2014 - 'Road to somewhere' denied, appeal process started
    01/31/2014 - City Manager, Attorney discuss supposed mayoral controversy
    01/30/2014 - New Adventure Park coming to Mesquite
    01/30/2014 - Taking Nominations for NV Senior Citizen of the Year
    01/29/2014 - Golf Tourney wins national award, Police Officers commended - Video
    01/29/2014 - Mesa View welcomes Family Medicine doctor to Mesquite
    01/29/2014 - December Real Estate transactions close out good year
    01/29/2014 - City Attorney addresses rumors, innuendoes from Mayor’s absence-Video
    01/28/2014 - Surprise announcements highlight Mesquite Business Preview - Video
    01/27/2014 - Head VVHS Football Coach stepping down
    01/27/2014 - Soccer swarms Mesquite - Slideshow
    01/27/2014 - Soaring high with Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Fest - Slideshow
    01/27/2014 - Crime Spree Ends With Two Arrests
    01/27/2014 - Motion granted MCJ to quash one set of subpoenas
    01/24/2014 - Hardy ready to announce Congressional candidacy – Part II
    01/23/2014 - Restrictions in Effect for I-15 Repaving Near Moapa Valley
    01/23/2014 - Hardy ready to announce Congressional candidacy – Part I
    01/13/2014 - A Magical Collaboration in Clay - Video
    12/23/2013 - Virgin River Gorge bridge improvements scheduled for I-15
    12/19/2013 - MCJ Editor Publisher slaps back at subpoenas in Water District lawsuits
    12/17/2013 - MCJ Editor Publisher slapped with six subpoenas in Water District lawsuit
    03/11/2013 - MCJ Sets New Policy for Article Comments

            Get our toolbar!