Boulder City Magazine® November 2010 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
Administration of Boulder City
Although it is obvious that much thought was given to the planning of the physical aspects of Boulder City, little can be found to indicate that federal officials gave any thought to administrative direction. When Boulder City’s first manager retired in 1941, the federal government and the citizens of Boulder City began serious consideration as to how and by whom the city should be administered.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Neither the federal government nor the power contractors were keen to continue to bear the costs of administration and city services, while a growing number of citizens were beginning to clamor for a say in their local government. Although the federal government had provided the full range of necessary services for the city, and although the tight reigns of federal control assured a safe, relatively crime-free environment, Boulder City citizens recognized one important tenet of the American democracy as reported by Dr. Henry Reining, appointed as hearings officer by the Commissioner of Reclamation: “…citizen participation might be a real factor in facilitating the formulation of the policies of the city which have been so difficult for the Boulder Canyon Project to make. Democracy is not only a goal in itself, but is also a method of solving problems.”
And so, after a series of Congressional acts throughout the 1940s and a lengthy set of public hearings in the early 1950s, Dr. Reining had compiled over 600 pages of testimony and presented a study which concluded that, “Local autonomy is a basic tenet of American federalism. It is only through ultimate incorporation that the residents of Boulder City can exercise to the full extent their rightful power to run their own local government.”
There was, however, serious concern by many that the city could not maintain itself financially. As the Federal Government was the largest industry in town and because Boulder City could not tax the Federal Government, how would the city generate the revenues required to provide the services once provided by the Federal Government? These concerns were addresses by the Department of the Interior in 1952: “As the principal beneficiary of a wholesome and attractive community, the Federal Government has an obligation to augment municipal income.” And this it did throughout the transition period.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
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