Las Vegas Sun

November 15, 2018

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Las Vegas City Council to deal with $80 million in cuts Tuesday

More than 200 city jobs on the chopping block

UPDATED STORY: City Council cuts 200 Las Vegas city jobs amid budget shortfall

Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell produced a few more specifics today about the details of the $80 million in cuts she will present Tuesday to the Las Vegas City Council.

The additional $15 million in cuts, which include a downsizing of the city jail and cutting back on regular maintenance of sports fields, will be on top of about 200 job cuts already announced earlier.

The council will hold its final budget hearing for the Fiscal Year 2010 budget at 1:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. The council approved a tentative budget for the fiscal year, which starts July 1, that would cut 146 positions.

Mayor Oscar Goodman announced last Thursday that more than 60 more positions would fall under the budget ax under Fretwell's latest budget recommendations.

Meanwhile, the city's largest union, the Las Vegas City Employees Association, is waiting to see if the the city responds to some last-minute undisclosed concessions in hopes of saving jobs among its members. The city has asked the union to make about $16 million in personnel costs to save jobs.

The city and firefighters are also working on coming up with a new agreement. During a closed meeting last week, the city council reviewed a tentative agreement reached by city and firefighter negotiators that would cut about $4.7 million.

But the council sent negotiators back to the table, saying the concessions weren't enough, Goodman said. The council had asked firefighters to come up with about $8.8 million in savings.

The city has been unable to negotiate concessions from its four unions.

"Contractually, that means the city must continue to grant automatic pay raises and cost-of-living adjustments to those in the bargaining units. In short, the cost of labor will continue to climb, while city revenues continue to fall," according to a press release put out this morning by the city.

Among the cuts is a $2.86 million reduction for downsizing the city jail.

The downsizing includes cutting 20 full-time corrections and city marshal positions and closing the Northwest Substation. It will mean increasing response times, decreasing officer presence at special events attended by the public and reducing available jail space from 1,050 to 800 beds per day. Fewer beds will be available to house misdemeanor offenders, according to city staff.

About $4.7 million will be coming from rolling "brown outs" in the fire department, where at least three units will be taken out of service each day. Although no staff reductions are included, the brown outs will help to reduce overtime costs.

Personnel affected by the latest cuts include:

Two full-time equivalent positions in municipal court, three FTE in Neighborhood Services, two FTE in Planning and Development, three FTE in Leisure Services, four FTE in Cultural Affairs, five FTE in Public Works, seven FTE in Field Operations, eight full-time positions in Building and Safety, seven FTE in Finance and Business Services, nine FTE in Department of Information Technologies, three FTE in the City Clerk's office, two FTE in Human Resources, two FTE in City Manager's office, three FTE in City Attorney's office (two positions are vacant) and one FTE in City Auditor's office.

The following is a list of other cuts that that city announced this morning:

-- Scaling back the Victim Witness Program.

-- Eliminating the Leisure on the Go Program, which provides services for low-income seniors, and the "Xtreme" Sports Unit, which includes programs for skateboarders.

-- Increasing some Municipal Court fees and fines.

-- Reducing regular maintenance of sports fields, which could mean displacing some youth leagues.

-- Downsizing the city's records management team, which could mean delays in obtaining city documents.

-- Privatizing the Armanda and Stacy Darling Dennis Center.

-- Closing Community Schools. Safekey and track break/summer camps will remain, but with increased fees.

The city, which is already expecting a $50 million shortfall in the 2012 fiscal year budget, will discuss plans on what steps to start taking next year.

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