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North Las Vegas leaders cite victories in budget crisis

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 11/27/2012 6:19 am
NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- In a Monday night review of strategies the city of North Las Vegas implemented to battle their budget crisis, the city did not mention it is still in a state of emergency.

“The one thing we wanted to highlight was that because of that bold action our mayor/council took, we were able to retain all of our emergency service providers,” said city of North Las Vegas City Manager Timothy Hacker.

That bold action, declaring a state of emergency, allowed North Las Vegas to suspend union contracts. That meant city employees such as police and firefighters did not get scheduled pay raises.

The city said it is how they avoided laying off public safety workers, but there were other pink slips.

“The detention center … we did lose upwards of 100 employees,” Hacker said.

In the special meeting Monday, North Las Vegas called the closure of its jail and leasing of space at the Las Vegas Detention Center an accomplishment in budget balancing.

The city said it even has an 8 percent fund balance in case of emergency.

“Really to step in and help fill holes if unexpected expenses come up,” said Hacker.

But problems persist.

Take it from Leonard Chide of Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada.

He said he’s struggling to sell homes in North Las Vegas.

“It is an image issue,” he said. “We conduct these classes right now, and the only thing that they still remember is 'Oh, the Police Department. Lord knows I don't want to deal with them. The Fire Department -- they shut down two stations. Oh, the fact that their city taxes are highest in the whole valley,' It's hard for us to really sell.’”

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck blamed that image issue on the media.

“We've had people in here saying positive things, because you said something, 'Nobody wants to move here' that will be the news tomorrow,” Buck said. “Because the news is going to spin everything negatively.”

Among the city accomplishments listed in Monday’s meeting were that the City of North Las Vegas has a balanced budget, a fund set aside with extra money in case of an emergency, and an ordinance drafted to fight foreclosures.

According to Hacker, the city of North Las Vegas will consider that ordinance for adoption in December.
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