Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Car allowances, travel, training: It all adds up

Boulder City councilwoman finds ways to cut $360,000

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Sarah Humphreys is leading the fight against a plan for 364 apartments to be built near her home in North Las Vegas.

It was time-consuming work, but City Councilwoman Linda Strickland figures it ultimately could be worth about $9,000 an hour to Boulder City — if her colleagues go along with her proposed $360,000 in cuts in next year’s $24 million budget.

“I spent literally about 40 hours going through line by line,” Strickland said.

Her proposals include a 10 percent decrease in travel and training spending in all departments. She also proposes trimming nine employees’ car allowances.

Strickland said she thinks training can be accomplished more efficiently and questioned the need for car allowances in a small city where you can walk to most places.

Strickland also had proposed cutting the city’s one-person public information office, noting that other small towns in Nevada do not have public information officers. However, after she got little support from other council members, the department and its roughly $100,000 annual budget is off the chopping block.

•••

North Las Vegas residents upset over plans to build hundreds of apartments in their neighborhood have two months to prepare for their next battle.

The Planning Commission’s review of a controversial 660-unit apartment complex at Deer Springs Way and Revere Street was delayed this week until May 28.

The project is the second apartment complex proposed by Pardee Homes within a half-mile area. Last week, the City Council voted 3-2 to allow plans for a 320-unit complex to proceed at Centennial Parkway and Revere.

Council members and the city attorney said a 1988 development agreement with Pardee forces the city to allow single-family, commercial or multifamily development on several parcels in the Eldorado community.

If the city were to try to stop the apartments, it likely would lose an expensive court battle, officials say. But some residents, who fear that the introduction of so many apartments in an area filled with single-family homes could harm property values, have been urging the city to fight the apartments at all costs.

The Planning Commission will make a decision on the site review plan. Its decision can be appealed to the City Council, and almost certainly will be.

•••

Boulder City held a series of meetings this year to discuss establishing stricter rules for parking RVs and other large vehicles on city streets.

Some residents say the vehicles are eyesores that pose safety hazards for pedestrians and drivers.

The City Council decided the only change needed was for police to start enforcing existing parking laws. The city code allows registered vehicles to be parked indefinitely in front of their owners’ homes. But they cannot be parked elsewhere in the city for more than a day.

Police have been issuing warnings to the owners of illegally parked vehicles. By this summer, the warnings will be replaced by tickets.

The city is considering taking another safety step.

The council has asked a safety committee to consider making some of the city’s narrow residential streets one way to make it easier for drivers to navigate around parked RVs.

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