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September 16, 2014

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Las Vegas City Council OKs slightly larger budget for next year

City must tap $10 million in reserves to avoid any staff cuts

With the deadline for submitting a final budget approaching, the Las Vegas City Council approved a $481 million general fund budget for the next fiscal year during a special meeting Tuesday morning.

The issue: The city council needed to approve a final budget before the June 1 deadline for submission to the state Department of Taxation.

The vote: Approved unanimously.

What it means: Las Vegas’ budget will grow slightly next fiscal year, which starts July 1, but it’s still experiencing slow recovery from the effects of the recession that led to a steep drop in property tax revenues.

Revenues will grow about 1 percent next year, with expenditures increasing 3 percent, due in part to increased contributions to Metro Police.

The city will have to tap $10 million in reserves to cover the general fund deficit and avoid any staff cuts. About $93 million will remain in reserves for future years.

“This budget doesn’t include concessions, service cuts or any of those other things we’ve had to talk about in the past. It makes it a lot easier to do our jobs,” City Manager Betsy Fretwell told the city council.

The city’s overall budget, including the general fund, checks in at $1.1 billion, which includes $249 million in capital improvements, mostly for road repairs and other public works projects that are partially funded with money from the Regional Transportation Commission and the flood control district.

The council also voted to approve a $19.5 million budget for the redevelopment agency, which acquires land, provides grants and offers other services to help growth in the downtown area.

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