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NLV deal with police union to save rec centers, avert layoffs


Leila Navidi

The North Las Vegas City Council meets at City Hall on Wednesday, September 7, 2011.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 | 8:23 p.m.

Anita Wood

Anita Wood

The North Las Vegas City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to approve a deal with the police union that includes $2 million in concessions, avoids 21 layoffs and will keep two recreation centers open.

The deal allows the city to maintain nine jobs in the Parks and Recreation Department to staff the Neighborhood and Silver Mesa recreation centers for at least another 10 months, acting City Manager Maryann Ustick said. The city needed to find an additional $1.5 million to keep the recreation centers open.

Since 2009, the city has laid off 446 employees, 20 percent of its staff, and another 20 percent was lost to attrition.

“We’ve combined and moved departments in order to make things efficient and be effective,” Councilwoman Anita Wood said. “My biggest concern is park maintenance because we’ve received numerous complaints from residents that the bathrooms or parks themselves are not clean.”

North Las Vegas acting Finance Director Al Noyola said part of the problem is that North Las Vegas is short-changed on the amount of consolidated tax it receives compared to other cities, such as Henderson.

“Per capita, more revenue goes to Henderson versus North Las Vegas. If we got the same amount, we would have received more money and would not be in such a severe financial drain,” he said.

Although the city has avoided the latest round of layoffs, it’s an issue that will come up again in the next fiscal year.

“I have projected an $11 million budget shortfall, and I am expecting it to go up,” Noyola said.

Wood said she voted against the agreement with the union because it is only a temporary fix, saving money now by putting off holiday and cost of living increase payouts until next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“Instead of saving (recreation) centers, it’s leading to a state takeover” of the city’s finances, Wood said.

Mayor Shari Buck said the agreement with the police union will only buy the city time and it will have to return to the bargaining table with the unions to keep the recreation centers open and to avoid more layoffs.

Noyola said he will present the next fiscal year’s budget projections to the council next month.

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