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July 23, 2014

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North Las Vegas mayor confident bold actions were needed

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Sam Morris

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck speaks during a meeting with the Las Vegas Sun editorial board Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Amid the financial bleakness hanging over the city of North Las Vegas like a storm cloud, Mayor Shari Buck is casting her eye toward 2017.

In the present, Buck has overseen difficult decisions. This month, the North Las Vegas City Council declared a financial emergency to close a budget deficit exceeding $30 million. In July, the city will close all but one wing of the North Las Vegas Detention Center and cut 108 city and public service union workers. Other budget cuts are being made, too.

Yet, Buck said 2017 is when experts think the economy will be back to normal, and she is confident the decisions the city has made will help it get there.

“We have a great plan to bring our business community, our chamber, our residents into a recovery and revitalization of the city,” Buck said Wednesday at a meeting with the Las Vegas Sun editorial board.

Buck and City Manager Tim Hacker said some changes in the city’s services could be made to become more cost efficient between now and a full economic recovery. Buck said there’s been talk in sharing services, from dispatch centers to road maintenance, with Las Vegas, Clark County and other entities to save money and increase efficiency.

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North Las Vegas city manager Timothy Hacker answers a question during a meeting with the Las Vegas Sun editorial board Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Aside from cutting costs, Hacker and Buck said they’d like to see renewed stabilization for businesses and homeowners. With 57 percent of its land undeveloped, Buck said North Las Vegas could be an enticing place for new businesses to start. Growth in business and the housing industry would help return North Las Vegas’ economy back to normal.

“We are asking our local residents to … do everything they can to support local businesses in the city in any way,” Buck said, “to buy local and try to sustain us through this, and move together as a business and community as we revitalize and regrow as a city.”

Yet, the present isn’t without controversy. The city’s unions are frustrated with budget-cutting decisions made by the council and instituted by Hacker.

The city and its unions failed in their attempts to negotiate contracts. The North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association filed a lawsuit against the city over the forced budget cuts, and the Firefighters Association has asked an arbitrator to nullify the decision.

Buck is firm the city has made the right decision regarding the unions.

“It’s the first time anybody told them no,” Buck said. “In the 13 years I’ve been on the City Council, this is the first time all five of us are solidified in the direction we’re going with the city manager.”

Still, Hacker said he would welcome a chance to work with the city’s unions to help improve emergency services.

“If they would come to us as we’re going to continuously come to them and say, ‘Look, things aren’t changing,’ we would love to have their input,” Hacker said. “We believe the folks providing services day in and day out have some good ideas in how to retool.”

Buck said North Las Vegas was one of the cities hit hardest by the recession but thinks the council’s difficult decisions will lead North Las Vegas down a path of recovery.

“We feel like we are righting the ship,” Buck said. “We’ve had to make some tough decisions, like closing our jail down, which was inefficient and cost us too many employees per ratio to guard those inmates. So we’re taking those measures to be more efficient.”

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  1. Anyone else buying this rhetoric laden political gamesmanship? Yah, me neither.

  2. The Mayor is the problem. Buck has been a main mover in the disaters that have been heaped on the City and she must go! She has been an advocate in the past for the police and firefighters unions who she is now trying to defeat by Councel decision.She opposed the Gensler initiative that likely would have fashioned the boom in new businesses that she now is counting on for the future of the City. When the next election bell tolls this Mayor must be defeated and then the City may have a chance for revival. But not under Buck's leadership.

  3. I am confident that when services get outsourced to the other local agencies, people in town are really going to see HOW MUCH of their money has been wasted. The highest taxes in the Metro Area, me thinks that 57% vacant land is going to stay vacant, as there is NO INCENTIVE to move a business here. Services suck and the taxes are the highest....great formula for an economic recovery.....BS. Time to out the Buckster.....and her little cronies and put the City in the hands of the state.

  4. So in "2017" when things are back to normal we will see no more reasonableness nor stewardship of our tax revenue? So we can spend like drunken sailors again? Could we finally start looking at tax and spend for essential government services in a cost-effective manner and stop the political hype?

  5. It's not just Taxes that are the Highest, but Building Permits for minor additions to your house can be double that of other jurisdictions and you must get multiple permits. Much of NLV's "Vacant Land is overflown by the New Much Louder Jets at Nellis running sorties? at 2:00 AM. Not exactly conducive to residential construction. Extremely High Water and Electric Rates in addition to Transportation Costs make heavy Manufacturing impossible in the entire Valley. So there are the low paying Warehouse order fulfillment and Call Centers and Million of square feet of empty space available for that in the valley alone. So show me a plan on how you are really planning to grow? Education in NLV is an oxymoron and high tech engineers will not relocate if their children do not get a great education. Medical Facilities like the VA pay No Taxes and there is no movement to build a Medical Complex around the new VA hospital. I believe the entire NLV management team is light weight and looking for a paycheck and nothing more. Merge NLV into another entity and stop all the duplication of Bureaucrats salaries.

  6. Bounce Buck !!!!!!!!!!

  7. Instead of trying to keep this sinking ship from sinking real slow, and eventually going under anyways. They are better off to blow the ship up now and let it sink. Then start fresh, if that's even possible.

  8. If you use thinking from the bottom up then you'll know North Las Vegas is in worse trouble than they admit. Of course things look much better according to those from the top down, which is conspicuously false.

    Until North Las Vegas can find something (other than more crime an ignorance per capita) that Las Vegas doesn't have, they will never be taken serious. They need some new creative blood running the city or else those running it now need to move fast and efficiently. The citizens need to unite and help fight against crime and undesirables. They should try to make at least one of their schools known as the best in Nevada. The Mayor and the city council should read these posts to get a more realistic idea of what they are up against. Lead or go home.