JoeHeckRNVU.S. Rep. Joe Heck, (R-Nevada), has had about enough of the delays in opening the new Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Laughlin, and he’s taken things into his own hands. Speaking before the Laughlin Economic Development Corporation last Thursday at the American Legion Post 60, the congressman clearly put the blame directly on Clark County and the VA.  “Anybody here who’s ever dealt with the Clark County building department knows what a problem that department can be,” Heck said. In the works for more than four years, the VA clinic in Laughlin has been beseeched by problems and delays. Construction of the facility, which will be located on the second floor of the Laughlin Professional Plaza, started in July and was essentially wrapped up in August, but Clark County building inspectors are continually finding new items to hold up the certificate of occupancy.  The latest delay centered on the fire alarm system. Heck said, the contractor and the landlord were told that the fire alarm system was inadequate so it was upgraded and the inspector, who travels to Laughlin from their main office in Las Vegas, returned and refused to approve the system because it only had one telephone line when two are required. Heck said, the inspectors have not given the correct information during their visits and it’s resulted in ongoing delays.  “They put the second phone line in, and that’s the last thing they’re waiting on, is the for the fire inspector to come back to verify that there are two lines in there for the fire alarm system,” Heck said. But when will the inspector return to Laughlin? Will there be at least a temporary certificate of occupancy? An obviously annoyed Heck was clear about his conversation with officials at the building department. “I probably stepped outside my lane, but I made the phone calls myself to the building inspector,” the congressman told those in attendance. That phone call took place only minutes before Heck started addressing the crowd in Laughlin. “This is what I want you to do. Go do it,” Heck recalled in his conversation with the chief of the county building department.  “I have it on very good authority, from the guy who runs the Clark County building department that the temporary certificate of occupancy will be issued shortly,” Heck continued. Heck also took the VA to task for other delays. Concerns over a ramp that leads to the elevator that would take veterans to the second floor clinic may not be appropriately sized has also contributed to the delay, but the congressman says it can be handled once the facility is opened. The VA says the ramp is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but the landlord and the contractor have an engineer’s certificate that says that it is in compliance with the ADA. Heck says, let’s get the clinic open and work on a compromise afterward. “Here’s the group that actually signed the lease for that building now coming in, as we’re ready to open, saying they need something else,” Heck said. “We need to open the clinic and then any other issues can be handled after that.”  “The people are hired; they’re waiting to go to work,” he added. “The equipment’s in there; they’re ready to use it.” “We got to get it open,” he concluded.

 

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