Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2014

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Budget still in the red, NLV declares another state of emergency

The North Las Vegas City Council voted on Wednesday for a measure that would renew last year’s resolution to declare a state of emergency to close an $18 million budget gap.

The issue: “This is just a repetition of what you did last year,” city attorney Jeffrey Barr reminded the council during the meeting. Last year the city took an unprecedented step and declared a state of emergency to close a $30 million budget deficit after stalled negotiations with its unions. This year, the city has an $18 million budget deficit, and negotiations have once again stalled. With the July 1 deadline to enforce measures to balance the budget looming, the city is voting to declare a state of emergency for the second year in a row.

Decision: Approved, 5-0.

What it means: The city has stopped the bleeding again for at least one more year by again forcing concessions on its unions. Unlike last year, however, the action did not come as a shock to unions. The concessions involve limiting salary increases and certain benefits in the unions’ contracts to close the budget deficit, but no one will be laid off.

The North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Union will file a second lawsuit against the city claiming the resolution is illegal. Meanwhile, the city will continue negotiations with the unions to reach a settlement on lawsuits filed after last year’s state of emergency. The city and unions will also prepare for talks to restructure the union contracts in 2014. Hacker said the current contracts reflected a time when the city was growing; he hopes the restructured deals will help the city balance its budget in the future.

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