After hearing complaints
from labor leaders, the Reno City Council delayed until Aug. 22 a decision
on whether to issue $40.5 million in sales-tax backed bonds to help
Cabela's build its giant sporting goods store at Boomtown.
Paul McKenzie, of the Building and Construction Trades Council, claimed
several subcontractors hired by Layton Construction Co., Cabela's general
contractor, are not licensed in Nevada. He also contends several subcontractors
and building consultants on the project did not turn over employee records
to the city to prove they are paying prevailing wages as called for
in the city's agreement with Cabela's.
"Ultimately, we don't think Cabela's deserve the STAR bonds,"
McKenzie said. Over 20 years, up to 75 percent of sales taxes generated
at the store can be used to pay off the bonds.
Mayor Bob Cashell said he doesn't want to make a decision until the
Nevada State Contractors Board completes an investigation under way
on whether Layton, based in Phoenix, illegally hired any subcontractors
not licensed with the state in the building project.
Cabela's would be the first in the state to take advantage of the special
financing. John McIntyre, the city's redevelopment consultant, said
he was initially given outside legal advice that employee reports were
needed only for work be covered by the bonds. Then he found out otherwise.
Three months ago, he said all of the employee reports had been turned
in as required.
The unions contend some of the reports might be phony.
Kevin Rhodes, Cabela's real estate director, declined to comment on
the labor issues and said Layton would have no comment either. But he
told the council Cabela's would have a problem if the city decides to
reduce the promised bonds for the project.
Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza said she wants to know if Cabela's violated
the intent of state law that set up the financing. She said she doesn't
see how hiring an outside contractor is a benefit to the local economy.
The council asked the city attorney to explore all of these issues and
whether any of them is cause for the city to break its agreement with
Cabela's signed earlier this year.
Council members also expressed concern over the Sheels sporting goods
store that will be built at the Sparks Marina as a competitor, and want
more financing details.
© 2007 Reno Gazette-Journal
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