Bleeding to death: North Las Vegas should stop nibbling around edges

The city of North Las Vegas, in perpetual fiscal crisis, has an estimated $33.3 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The City Council has a little more than two months to figure out how to cut an awful lot of expenses.

So Mayor Shari Buck met Monday with Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie to start talks on North Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sharing some police services.

Mayor Buck said it was a "productive, positive meeting," but added that merging the police forces was off the table. For his part, Sheriff Gillespie made it clear he's not interested in bailing out North Las Vegas at a discount, saying "I'm not looking to take on any additional responsibilities without adequate resources." The sheriff is fighting his own funding battles to adequately police the city of Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County.

So the two discussed contracting for jail usage and fatal-crash investigations, among other preliminary proposals.

The recession-ravaged North Las Vegas government is in such sorry shape, the state considered taking over the municipality last year. The city is bleeding to death, and Mayor Buck still isn't sure whether the patient needs to go to the emergency room?

The City Council needs to stop nibbling around the edges of North Las Vegas' fiscal problems and get aggressive. Nothing can be off the table, especially consolidation and outsourcing. If the city doesn't have the resources to open Craig Ranch Regional Park or conduct its own fatal-crash investigations, then the entire operation needs to be rethought.

Merging the city's police force with Metro is worth exploring for the simple fact that Metro is already a merged department, a product of a Las Vegas-Clark County consolidation decades ago. Intergovernmental funding oversight already exists. The North Las Vegas City Council also could contract with private companies to take over everything from recreation center operations to park maintenance.

If North Las Vegas is going to survive as a city, it must start making painful, unpopular decisions. Today.