Has Clark County outgrown its county commission?
A bill that would increase the Clark County Commission from seven members to nine was presented during a Senate government affairs committee meeting Wednesday.
Currently, state law specifies that in counties with a population of 700,000 or more, county commissioners serve on a board of seven. SB127 would add two additional positions. The seats would be filled by a general election held in November 2022.
The Clark County Commission is the only board in Nevada that would be affected by the change.
State Sen. David Parks, government affairs committee chairman and the bill’s primary sponsor, said that since the Clark County Commission is responsible for both county and municipal functions it is time to consider expanding the board, adding that if unincorporated Clark County were a city it would be the largest in the state.
“By comparison, the City of Las Vegas has a mayor and six council members,” Parks said.
In 1977, Clark County had a population of 389,965 residents and five county commissioners. In 1987, the Senate government affairs committee increased the number of county commissioners from five to the current seven, with each member representing about 50,000 constituents.
Today, Clark County has a population of about 2.25 million residents, with 321,000 constituents per commissioner.
By the year 2022, when the bill would go into effect, it’s estimated Clark County will have a population exceeding 2.4 million residents, or 342,857 constituents per commissioner.
If increased to nine commissioners, the average commissioner would represent 266,000 constituents.
“I have no problem with adding two commissioners in (Clark County) as long as we add two school board trustees too and make their districts coterminous with our districts,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.
No one spoke in opposition or support of the bill during the hearing.
A fiscal note attached to the bill said the additional board members would cost the local government about $1.3 million a year with an additional cost of $3 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year and about $650,000 the next year.
The cost is, in large part, due to additional salaries that would be paid to the new commissioners. TransparentNevada has the average salary of a commissioner at about $90,000. Compensation increases to $120,000 when benefits are counted.