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November 26, 2014

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state of the city:

North Las Vegas mayor: Despite adversity, city is open for business

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Christopher DeVargas

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck delivers her State of the City Address to a crowded hall on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.

NLV State of the City

KSNV coverage of North Las Vegas State of the City address, Jan. 13, 2011.

North Las Vegas State of the City

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck delivers her State of the City Address to a crowded hall on Thursday,  Jan. 13, 2011. Launch slideshow »

North Las Vegas is open for business in 2011.

Mayor Shari Buck believes this so much that she repeated the phrase and tagline for her State of the City address, “Open for Business,” 13 times during her nearly 30-minute speech on Thursday.

“I have seen evidence that North Las Vegas is a place where hardship is met with hope, and people pull together to find solutions,” Buck said.

The city’s 15th annual State of the City address took place at Texas Station in front of about 300 guests.

The mayor opened her speech in jovial fashion. Buck evoked Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s penchant for showgirls by having two guests on stage with her, too – cardboard cutouts of Goodman’s head imposed on Liberace’s body, and North Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tempore William Robinson’s head imposed on Muhammad Ali’s body.

Buck’s city, which experienced layoffs and deep budget cuts in 2010, is expected to have a budget hole of $35.1 million over the next two years.

Trying to close that hole has caused conflict with the city’s unions, whose members were asked to come before the city council with concessions. The police officers’ union, the firefighters’ union and the Teamsters’ unions have come forward with concessions – which Buck thanked them for in her speech.

Buck and the city council didn’t always agree in 2010. On many votes, especially those dealing with cuts to public safety personnel and pay, Buck was the sole “no” vote.

Still, the tone of her speech was unerringly confident and focused on unity and partnerships.

“While we don’t agree on every issue, we are united in our vision and goals for a sustainable economy recovery and prosperous future,” Buck said of the council. “We are a strong team and together we will accomplish great things.”

Buck capitalized on new businesses coming to North Las Vegas, and the possibility for growth and innovation in the future.

“The grim economic projections and news of slumping sales haven’t deterred businesses from coming to North Las Vegas,” she said. “They’re just getting more creative and capitalizing on opportunities they might otherwise have overlooked.”

Several companies, including Ganix Shrimp Farm; Amonix, a solar panel manufacturing company that will create 278 jobs in the city; and El Super, a California-based grocery store, have recently decided to locate in North Las Vegas, she said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will be opening a veterans' hospital in North Las Vegas later this year. The hospital will be the only VA hospital in Southern Nevada and will “create opportunities for the development of a high-tech medical and research hub.”

Buck said the city has also capitalized on Nellis Air Force Base and the city’s Cheyenne Technology Corridor, two aspects of North Las Vegas that will help growth, she said.

“They are open for business,” she said. “Their success will encourage others to follow.”

Michael Montandon, who served as North Las Vegas mayor during the city’s meteoric growth during the 2000s, said he was excited Buck chose to highlight some of the projects that began during his tenure, such as a water reclamation plant. He said he understood Buck’s optimistic tone, despite last year’s adversity.

“It’s what you expect her to say,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the projects progress. You have to be (optimistic)."

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