State lawmakers scramble to save North Las Vegas
By Rikki Cheese. CREATED May 30, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- State lawmakers are scrambling to save the city of North Las Vegas from a financial collapse.
The city can't afford to pay police and firefighters, as well as maintain several community services without help.
Residents who need those services are well aware of their city's dire financial situation. At Aliante Park, some complain about the upkeep that's on the downswing.
Chris Krieg has noticed a difference over the past six years. She says, "Weeds all over, and it's just very sad."
Janissa Macon says, the lack of green in North Las Vegas' budget is pretty sad too, but she's not a fan of a potential solution. When asked about the possibility that the state could step in and take over North Las Vegas she says, "I think that's scary."
By phone from Carson City, North Las Vegas spokesman Tim Bedwell says that's not going to happen.
Bedwell says, "I don't think they've looked at how much it would cost the state, how detrimental it would be to the state's image and the valley's image if the third largest city in the state were to be insolvent."
But North Las Vegas needs state lawmakers to approve a bill sponsored by Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick that allows them to divert water and sewer funds to pay for police, and firefighters; and restore services cut during the economic downturn, such as library hours, and maintenance of current parks and the huge Craig Ranch regional park that has yet to open.
Bedwell says, "We're looking at about $13 million dollars this year."
But the current budget gap is larger than that and robbing Peter to pay Paul is a three year plan.
Janissa Macon says, "I think if it's able to help get us out temporarily that might do, but we still have to fix the problem."
Bedwell says the problem of North Las Vegas budget deficits, and takeover talk, will be fixed with time.
According to Bedwell, "I think over the next year or two, I think you're going to see us rebounding in a way that people will look back and wonder why anybody ever even talked about such things."
The bill that could save North Las Vegas has to go through two committees and be voted on the Assembly and Senate floor before it can be signed by the Governor when the session is set to end on Monday.