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North Las Vegas votes to eliminate 204 city jobs

Updated Thursday, April 1, 2010 | 10:09 p.m.

Shari Buck

Shari Buck

The North Las Vegas City Council approved a budget-reduction plan Thursday night that will eliminate 204 municipal jobs.

Acting City Manager Maryann Ustick presented the proposal, which trimmed the number of jobs to be eliminated from 273 recommended in February.

The plan, aimed at helping close a $58.3 million shortfall in next year's budget, is expected to save $24.9 million.

The layoffs will impact the hours libraries and recreation centers are open and maintenance of city roads, parks and other facilities, Ustick said. The North Las Vegas Municipal Court will terminate night court sessions, she said.

The North Las Vegas Fire Department will eliminate 16 firefighter positions, saving about $2.8 million.

No police officers will be laid off, but the city will put off replacing police cars for two years and will put a hiring freeze on certain positions, Ustick said.

Public Works will save about $2.3 million by cutting roadway and traffic operations.

Mayor Shari Buck voted against the plan because of the cuts to the fire department. “My top priority is public safety,” she said. “I’m not willing to cut those... positions.”

The council passed the plan on a 4-1 vote.

Councilwoman Anita Wood said she doesn’t think public safety employees are more important than other workers and that the council had a tough decision because there were no other viable options.

“I understand no one wants to give up anything. It’s human nature,” Wood said. “I think this is truly a sad day.”

Councilman Robert Eliason agreed with Wood and asked Buck why she didn’t come up with a solution to save public safety jobs. “Nothing came out of your office to eliminate this deficit,” he said.

All of the layoffs will take place before June 18, but Buck said she hopes to speak with labor unions before then to negotiate ways to save some positions. As of now, she said, she has been in talks with the fire department, police department and Teamsters unions.

“We’re still speaking to unions to come up with some concessions,” she said. “It’s tough sitting there knowing you have cut 204 jobs.”

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