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May 29, 2015

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North Las Vegas facing $15.5 million budget deficit

City official: Concessions from police and firefighters unions could solve problem

North Las Vegas officials meet to talk budgets

KSNV coverage of the North Las Vegas City Council meeting to draft budgets that pay for government employees such as firefighters, Nov. 16, 2011.

North Las Vegas is expecting another budget deficit for the next fiscal year, but it’s nothing concessions from police and fire unions can’t solve, according to acting finance director Al Noyola.

In a presentation to the council Wednesday night Noyola outlined the city’s current financial situation. The city will face a $15.5 million budget gap in the coming 2013 fiscal year, which is a little more than half of the previous year’s $30.3 million deficit.

But the majority of the gap, said Noyola, is the $12.3 million the city will pay when contracts with unions end next year.

Teamster furlough days, 22 days in the last 18 months, will end next year and cost the city $2.1 million. Cost-of-living adjustments for the next fiscal year, as well as the deferred 3.75 percent fire union and 4.125 percent police union cost-of-living adjustments given in concessions earlier this year, account for about $2 million. The costs also include holiday payout, uniform allowances, merit increases and overtime.

“Compensation salaries have gone up,” said Noyola, who compared salaries and benefits to fiscal year 2004. ”Today, although we are paying approximately the same dollars for labor — the compensation in benefits and salaries, we actually have 300 less (full-time employees).”

The city, which relied heavily on concessions from unions to close the current budget, is in the clear until the start of the next fiscal year. It’s recent bond restructuring plan approved last month saved the city about $4.7 million for the current 2012 fiscal year and the ending fund balance for the current fiscal year is $5.3 percent of the budget, Noyola said.

The city, which has laid off a significant portion of its staff and nearly closed recreation centers earlier this year, must make sure its finances are in order to avoid a takeover by the state taxation department.

Still, existing concessions from Teamsters, police and firefighters will expire next year and the unions may have to come to the bargaining table once again.

“If we were able to stay at the status quo, no additional payouts, no COLA, no additional merits, those things that had been deferred and now have come back, then the city is only looking at about a $3 million gap,” said Noyola.

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