Government math: Las Vegas spends $185 million to save $400,000 a year in energy costs

Victor Joecks

I’m referring, of course, to the new Las Vegas City Hall.

City officials, led by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, have been putting out a ridiculous talking point, bragging that the new city hall will save Las Vegas $400,000 a year in energy costs.

“This is an incredible night for us all,” the mayor [Carolyn Goodman] said.

She said the energy efficient building, which features 33 “solar trees” in the front that generate electricity, will reduce the energy costs by more than $400,000 a year.

The same talking point has also been in the RJ multiple times.*

Now, we at NPRI are all about saving money, but that’s not what’s happening here. What Mayor Goodman fails to brag about is that city hall mortgage payments are going to grow from $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2013 to annual payments of $13.4 million in FY 2017. To compare, the old city hall was paid off.

So savings of $400,000 a year will bring the net mortgage payment down to … $13 million a year.

Yep, Las Vegas will spend $13.4 million a year to save $400,000 a year.

No wonder, former-mayor Oscar Goodman called critics of government-led economic development efforts, like the Mob museum, “monkeys” and “morons.”

Anyone can see that it’s a great idea to spend $185 million to save $400,000 a year, because by the year 2474, the new Las Vegas city hall will have finally paid for itself.

*Reporters on this issue have done a good job pointing out that the building is going to cost $185 million, so this blog isn’t a knock on them. It’s just a demonstration of how ridiculous government officials can be when trying to justify wasting your money. Don’t let them fool you.