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September 15, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON:HENDERSON:

Officials close doors for talk about Lake Las Vegas

Sun Coverage

The Henderson City Council held a closed-door session Tuesday night for a briefing about the Lake Las Vegas bankruptcy proceedings.

The vote was 3-2 for the closed session, with council members Steve Kirk and Kathleen Boutin contending that the public had a right to hear the discussion.

Lake Las Vegas resort filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008. Among the hundreds of listed creditors is Henderson, which has noted that Lake Las Vegas owes the city $19.15 million for Local Improvement District financing and assessments.

“Obviously, the city has an interest in our constituents who live at Lake Las Vegas, which is the reason for this briefing,” Henderson City Attorney Elizabeth Quillin said.

Attorneys representing the Transcontinental Corp., the previous owner of Lake Las Vegas that retains ownership interests in some properties at the resort, also opposed the closed-door session. They called on the City Council to hold open discussions with all parties involved and work toward a mutual solution.

The closed session lasted a little more than an hour, and the council members did not take any public action on the matter after they emerged.

•••

The Henderson City Council approved a new labor deal this week with its firefighters union, the last of the city’s six collective bargaining units to renegotiate its agreement as part of Henderson’s budget-cutting efforts.

Unlike Henderson police officers, police supervisors, and members of three Teamsters unions representing various other employees, Henderson firefighters will still receive pay increases.

Henderson’s other five unions agreed to forgo annual pay increases for the current fiscal year, which began July 1 and ends June 30.

The deal with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1883, which represents Henderson firefighters, will reduce the 3.5 percent increase members received July 1 to 1 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year, effective Sept. 21.

The agreement, which was to end at the end of this fiscal year, will also be extended two years, with pay increases of 1.25 percent for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.

The renegotiated agreement is expected to save the city about $2.3 million over the next four years.

Acting Human Resources Director Fred Horvath said that although the new agreements seem unequal on the surface, with the firefighters being the only group receiving a base wage increase this year, there are other factors in the deals that balance them out. He said both police unions and all three Teamsters unions received small, lump-sum payments in lieu of base increases, and there were other considerations.

Police officers, for example, received a small increase in their monthly uniform allowance.

•••

An Interstate 15 project expected to begin in early 2010 could prove particularly problematic for the many motorists who use the I-15-Las Vegas Beltway route to get to and from Henderson. Of course, they will also be among those who enjoy the fruits of that labor after the work is completed.

The $246.5 million project, scheduled to be finished in spring 2012, includes a new overpass at Sunset Road and widened overpasses at Warm Springs and Russell roads. It also includes improvements to the railroad overpass between Russell and Sunset and the interchanges at the Beltway, Tropicana Avenue, Blue Diamond Road and Silverado Ranch Boulevard.

The biggest improvement included in the project, according to Transportation Department project manager John Terry, will be the new collector-distributor roads along the sides of the freeway designed to eliminate the weaving of traffic entering the freeway from the Beltway and the northbound traffic exiting the freeway at Russell Road.

Funding for most of the project comes from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s hotel taxes because the project is particularly important for Strip destinations such as CityCenter, which is to open this year.

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