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Mayor Buck comments on 'state of emergency' in North Las Vegas

Mayor Buck comments on 'state of emergency' in North Las Vegas

By Blake McCoy. CREATED May 30, 2012

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- North Las Vegas will vote Friday whether to declare a formal state of emergency to help get a handle of it's current budget crisis.

"It would be a final resort," says Mayor Shari Buck, speaking in a one-on-one interview with Action News.

Buck says there is simply no other way to balance the budget without mass layoffs which she believes would jeopardize the safety and quality of life of residents.

With police and fire unions insisting on raises next year, a formal emergency would allow the city to break those contracts.

"It's not really anything I think the council wanted to do or wants to do," says Buck. "But either we're going to lay off a couple hundred people or we're going to try this measure to try to save those jobs."

The unions call it yet another bully tactic.

"It's their way or the highway and that's simply not the way that you get things done," says Michael Yarter, President of the North Las Vegas Police Officer's Association. "I think the council is really stretching their authority."

Mayor Buck disagrees but acknowledges the move will spark a fight.

"This is us trying to take control fiscally of what's going on in our city. We expect that there will be lawsuits filed," says Buck.

Part of the reason lawsuits are expected is that no one really knows if this is legal. The law regarding formal states of emergency was meant for riots or natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. Does a fiscal crisis qualify?

"This has not been tried in the state of Nevada but it has been done successfully in California, it's been done in some other states," says Buck.

The city council will vote on the measure Friday at 5pm.

Mayor Buck is a yes.