North Las Vegas refinances bond debt to help cover bills

North Las Vegas leaders have approved a plan to save money now but pay more later, saying they have no choice if the cash-strapped city is to survive.

The City Council on Wednesday approved refinancing a $27 million chunk of the city's bond debt so it will have enough cash to pay its bills.

The refinancing will save the city about $3.6 million a year for the next six years. But in the long run, the refinancing will cost the city about $4 million more than it would have paid without refinancing, said Al Noyola, acting director of finance.

"It is not the best option, but it is an option we need to explore in order to ensure the financial stability of the city," he said.

The council approved the refinancing 3-2, with council members Anita Wood and Robert Eliason opposed.

Wood said she couldn't support placing the additional burden on taxpayers.

She said the council members were saddling future councils with coming up with additional money.

The $27 million is part of $140 million in bonds that the city issued in 2002, 2003 and 2006 to acquire, construct and improve public buildings.

The city has gone through several rounds of budget cuts and layoffs since late 2008 and eliminated or frozen about 1,000 positions.

North Las Vegas had a difficult time balancing its fiscal 2012 budget, leading to worries about potential state takeover of the municipality.

The city's ending fund balance -- its cash reserves -- is around 5 percent, about enough to make one payroll.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.