Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 | 2 a.m.
At a time when North Las Vegas is trimming $15 million from its budget and a foreclosure crisis is tearing its way through town, Mayor Mike Montandon preached optimism in this week’s State of the City address.
It was the mayor’s last annual address. He faces term limits and will leave office in June after 12 years, during which he has seen the city grow from 88,000 people to more than 215,000.
Now North Las Vegas faces perhaps a bigger challenge than the growth it experienced over the past decade: a recession that’s gripping the valley and the country.
Montandon spoke about the massive redevelopment efforts planned for Las Vegas Boulevard North and the $476 million in capital improvements planned for the city.
However, he didn’t mention that city officials are meeting daily to determine which projects can be delayed to save money.
The city is trying to chop about $23 million from next year’s budget and faces a battle with the Legislature over funding. The state, with its own financial problems, has some control over more than 80 percent of North Las Vegas’ funding.
The mayor appealed to the state to spare the city’s funding from the massive budget cuts.
“Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul,” Montandon said. People depend as much on local government services as they do on those from the state ... Don’t move the problem from one place to another.”
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The race to replace Montandon is heating up. A quick drive through North Las Vegas shows candidate signs are sprouting at every busy intersection.
Three council members — Shari Buck, Stephanie Smith and William Robinson — have said they plan to run for the position. This week all three filed annual campaign contribution and expense reports.
Robinson raised more than $127,000 in 2008, leading the pack. Smith raised $71,000, and Buck is carrying over $67,000 from her previous campaigns. She has begun raising money.
Councilman Robert Eliason, who is facing little-known challenger Rolando Cruz, raised $33,500 last year.
Cruz has not filed a report because nonincumbent candidates cannot officially register for the ballot until the end of the month. Current council members must file an annual report.
A few eye catchers:
The Committee to Elect Tom Collins, the county commissioner whose district covers most of North Las Vegas, donated $5,000 to Robinson.
Boyd Gaming, which has been pushing for a casino along Interstate 215, gave $10,000 to both Robinson and Smith.
Montandon gave $5,000 to Angelo Carvalho, the planning commissioner who plans to run for the Ward 3 council seat.
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Henderson will have zoning control over 500 federal acres near the Henderson Executive Airport, thanks to the passage of a Senate bill last week.
The city has long coveted the land for use as a business park. The bill will allow Henderson to control future usage by prezoning the area before the Bureau of Land Management auctions the land.
Henderson officials say nearly all of the city’s industrial parks have been filled and it desperately needs more places to put industry as it continues to attempt to diversify the local economy.
The legislation is part of a package of 160 public lands bills that includes measures affecting other government land in Southern Nevada.
In Henderson it involves the two 250-acre parcels along St. Rose Parkway.
Additionally, the legislation will grant land to the Nevada Cancer Institute, release land for a flood control project in the eastern valley and authorize a study of possible sites for Cold War memorials.