Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen described his city Wednesday as a place “where a little investment as a taxpayer yields extraordinary returns.”
“Guided by the goal of being premier, and driven by our dedication to excellence, we’ve created a city where you receive a value for your tax dollar that is second to none,” Hafen said during his annual State of the City address.
Speaking to a crowd of about 900 at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Hafen reminded residents that the city has maintained the same property tax rate for 23 years.
Henderson’s population has grown during that time from about 64,000 to more than 270,000, making it the second most populous city in the state. Its property tax rate, described by Hafen as “the lowest rate of any major entity in the state of Nevada,” is 71 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
“It’s hard to disagree that the value we get as taxpayers, for the rates that we pay in Henderson, is phenomenal,” the mayor said.
Hafen stuck with the theme of value throughout his speech, while also warning of possible changes on the horizon.
The city has cut more than $127 million from its budgets during the past six years, he said, “but there are tough choices to be made at this crossroads we’re approaching.”
“Over the past six years we’ve watched our revenues steadily decrease, as our population has continued to increase,” the mayor said.
He said property tax revenue “has dwindled to levels not seen since 2005.”
“That fact is particularly important when you consider the caps placed on property taxes, which further limit our ability to recover at a rate commensurate with the normal growth that’s now occurring,” Hafen said. “In some areas of Henderson, we’ve seen reductions of more than 50 percent in property tax revenues, and anticipate that it will be 25 years before we a see a return to normal levels.”
He said Henderson has a “critical need” to reinvest in its infrastructure.
“At the crossroads we’re approaching lies the question of: Do we want to continue to make the investment to be premier, or do we kick the can down the road?”
Hafen said 21 members of a special ad hoc committee, established last year to examine the city’s budget and help find revenue, have been working for months and are prepared to make their recommendations at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 18.
“They’ve asked very difficult, probing questions and forced the city to stretch and look for additional ways to add value to your tax dollars,” the mayor said.
Hafen said Henderson officials have created a strategic plan to help the city focus its limited resources.
He said the plan identifies major challenge areas that have been combined into six “key priorities:”
—Ensuring the city’s financial stability.
—Caring for maturing neighborhoods.
—Ensuring public service excellence.
—Being wise users of environmental resources.
—Maintaining critical infrastructure.
—And ensuring public safety.
Hafen also touted some of the new businesses and residential developments coming to Henderson. They include the Inspirada and Cadence communities, the massive Union Village health village, the Cowabunga Bay water park, a Life Time Fitness center, VadaTech and Flowers Baking Co.
In addition, Barclaycard US, the credit card division of Barclays, has opened a customer-service call center at 2280 Corporate Circle, the former headquarters of Zappos. The British bank plans to hire 400 full-time employees for the call center this year.
Hafen was elected mayor in 2009 and was re-elected last year. He began serving on the City Council in 1987.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710. Follow her on Twitter @CarriGeer.