Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 | 7:47 p.m.
North Las Vegas, plagued with financial troubles and political turmoil, is hoping to change its image and refocus its goals after a turbulent year.
On the first day of a two-day city council workshop, Lyle Sumek, an outside independent consultant hired by the city, began helping the new city council discuss, deliberate on and redefine its organizational and economic goals.
Although the new council was assembled after the election in June, the meeting was the first time the council and new city manager Tim Hacker had gathered to organize objectives for the city. The budget gap, repeated concession agreements with police unions and ongoing lawsuits stemming from the Ward 4 election have also taken the spotlight in recent months.
“You need to move on from the past campaign and things that were said, putting the past behind us and looking at and focusing on what’s best for the community,” Sumek told the council.
In his first assignment as city manager, Hacker addressed issues he and others in city management saw as challenges to the city moving forward.
Hacker said the city lost institutional knowledge through layoffs, it can’t afford its budget, and politics were put above the welfare of citizens. He added that in order for the city to progress, it needs to invest in public and private partnerships and focus on economic development.
Councilwoman Anita Wood said mistrust among city employees is a problem and that the organization as a whole should “practice what we preach.”
Along with developing economically, Councilman Wade Wagner said he hopes the city can remove the stigma of “Nor Town” and work toward making residents feel safe.
“The challenges are the perception of the city,” Wagner said.
When asked what needs to be improved in the next five years, Mayor Shari Buck said the city should devote time to develop an aggressive business plan so it will never face a multi-million dollar budget gap as it did earlier this year.
“We should make it a goal to never fall back into the same patterns we had before,” Buck said.
Sumek will meet with the council Friday to continue discussing city priorities at 4 p.m. in the main library community room of the North Las Vegas Library. The meeting is open to the public.