The Planning and Development Department and the City Clerk’s Office have put a new notification system in place that will save city of Las Vegas taxpayers thousands of dollars. In addition to the cost savings, more citizens will be reached and it will be easier for them to provide their feedback about projects affecting their neighborhoods.
This effort is in line with one of the city’s priorities to “Promote an open government which allows access, participation and respectful communication.”
Property owners within the required notification distance of a proposed action item that will be heard before the Planning Commission and City Council will now receive their notification on a postcard rather than by letter within an envelope.
Importantly, the postcard also serves as a return comment card for the recipient to express support or opposition to the proposed action item; making it easier for citizens to communicate with their government and therefore increasing feedback to the city. In 2006, the city also adopted an ordinance increasing the notification distance to nearby property owners to 1,000 feet, one quarter more than the state of Nevada requirement.
The postcard also provides more information than the previously used letters. The postcard includes a map indicating the property location of the proposed action item.
The material cost per postcard is 8-cents compared to 20-cents for letters. The anticipated cost savings are approximately $24,000 annually for the Planning Commission and City Hall meetings combined. The first full run of the new notification postcards was employed for the June 28, 2007, Planning Commission meeting.
“Since the postcard system’s inception, there has been a significant increase in residents forwarding their opinions on land use issues to the City Council,” said City Clerk Beverly Bridges. “So by extension, the council’s priority for more open and accessible government is being realized.”
Eliminating the folding and stuffing process will also result in considerable savings in staff time. There will also be significant environmental benefits from the reduction of the number of trees harvested, ink expended and trash produced. This postcard system demonstrates the city of Las Vegas’ commitment to sustainable practices and wise stewardship of natural and financial resources.
“The members of the Planning & Development staff are pleased to demonstrate that we ‘walk the walk, not just talk the talk’ on sustainable practices,” said Director Margo Wheeler, Planning & Development Department. “Every step we can take, as individuals and public sector employees, to improve our efficiency, reduce our environmental impact and save taxpayer dollars increases our effectiveness and credibility.”