As 2011 peters to a close, it's time to look back on what made the year memorable in North Las Vegas.
With the year almost in rear view, let us review what made 2011 great and what tested the endurance and strength of the city.
The newest neighbor to North Las Vegas represented a new chapter in city government, officials said.
In November, the new $127 million City Hall opened its doors at 2250 Las Vegas Blvd. North.
The 210,000-square-foot building is on 12 acres not far from the cluster of modular buildings in which the services were previous located.
North Las Vegas City Hall houses municipal services, including building safety, economic development, human resources, finance, public works and city management.
The building was completed about $15 million under budget, and it is the city's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project to achieve silver distinction.
Among the upgrades: the council chambers is more than double the size of its predecessor; municipal services are condensed for customer ease; and an outdoor civic plaza is equipped for community events. The city also plans to begin web streaming City Council meetings for "greater public access."
Also new to the neighborhood, the 36,000-square-foot SkyView Multi-Generational Center and YMCA, 3050 E. Centennial Parkway, welcomed visitors for the first time in September.
The North Las Vegas City Council approved a contract in April for the YMCA to open, staff and maintain the $18.3 million project. The building is the fourth branch of the YMCA in Southern Nevada and the first in North Las Vegas.
The new center added about 40 new jobs. Its amenities include a wellness center with cardio equipment, indoor swimming pool, classrooms, relaxation areas, child care and free Wi-Fi to members.
For more information, visit ymcalasvegas.org.
This year, construction continued on the more than $300 million North Las Vegas medical center complex, 6900 N. Pecos Road, of The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. The $365 million, 790,000-square-foot hospital will include 90 beds for inpatient and mental health care, diagnostic and treatment clinics and administration facilities. A 120-bed nursing home and extended care unit available to veterans also will be on campus.
The city finished revitalizing a 100-year-old adobe structure at Kiel Ranch as part of plans to preserve and protect the historic building. Plans also include turning the ranch into a park and scenic outlook.
Some of North Las Vegas' youngest residents were not immune to tough times this year.
In October, 6-year-old Amelia "Mia" Decker was struck and killed in a North Las Vegas crosswalk by 78-year-old driver Alice Alava. Alava was charged in the death and for severely injuring two other girls Oct. 21 at Camino Eldorado and Bent Arrow Drive. Police said Alava did not brake, and her vehicle carried one child almost 150 feet.
A memorial to Mia is posted at the intersection. Neighbors and friends held vigil and have commissioned the city to make the intersection safer for passers-by.
This event helped bring about public and media scrutiny on pedestrian safety across the valley.
It was a tumultuous year for North Las Vegas officials as they worked to resolve a $26.6 million budget deficit at the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
A state takeover loomed as Mayor Shari Buck, the City Council and city manager took measures to make ends meet. Layoffs coupled with a hiring freeze tightened up city staff numbers. Furloughs, buyouts, some salary freezes and resignations also offered aid in past years.
The city worked with the Teamsters Union and city police and firefighters unions to iron out concessions that answered to shortfalls and helped keep city recreation centers open. They were on the brink of closure.
At the moment, the city has a balanced budget for the current fiscal year. It could be a different story -- to the tune of $15.5 million -- for 2013 depending on revisited budget talks with the unions.
In December, City Manager Tim Hacker announced the North Las Vegas Fire Department's spending was expected to stay within its budget, despite overtime cost concerns.
The department spent about 79 percent of its overtime budget within the first half of the current fiscal year, but much of that is covered by offsets in spending in other parts of the department, the city said.
The race for a City Council seat turned into a hotbed this year.
In June, dentist Wade Wagner ran against incumbent Richard Cherchio for the Ward 4 council seat.
Wagner defeated Cherchio by one vote.
A dispute over election results and court battles continue to rage on despite judicial rulings in Wagner's favor.
Cherchio funded a recount and challenged the results in court after it was discovered that an election official had allowed an unidentified North Las Vegan to cast a ballot in the wrong ward.
In late November, a judge upheld Wagner's win in the municipal election. Cherchio has suggested he may appeal the ruling.
Wagner was sworn in in mid-July.
In addition to Wagner, a few changes were made to the staff roster in North Las Vegas municipal government. In 2011, Hacker was hired as city manager, Jeffrey Barr as city attorney and Reed Scheppmann as utilities director.
North Las Vegas added some awards to its name, as well.
Craig Ranch Regional Park's landscaping won a merit award in the "Unbuilt" category by the Nevada Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects. The first phase of the Upper Las Vegas Wash Trail won a merit award in the "Trails" category by the same society.
The City of North Las Vegas Utilities Department received a Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association for Metropolitan Water Agencies, the largest publicly owned drinking water system organization in the United States.
In the wake of financial unrest and election headaches, Buck faced attempts to oust her from office.
In the fall, a group -- including Ryann Juden, vice chairman of the city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and residents -- filed paperwork to recall Buck, who is in the middle of her four-year term.
The recall paperwork claimed that Buck "demonstrated an inability to effectively lead and protect the citizens of North Las Vegas."
Buck deemed their efforts politically motivated. The members of group stood defeated as they were unable to obtain the 2,466 signatures needed to move forward with a recall.
In January, Buck will be in the hot seat again when she goes before the Nevada Commission on Ethics for a complaint alleging that she spoke unlawfully about the election for a Ward 4 seat.
Resident Scott Sauer filed the ethics complaint and accused Buck of failing to abstain from a vote and influencing the City Council despite her personal involvement with and support of Wagner's campaign.
Buck said she felt confident that she acted lawfully in the matter.
In June, Clark County sought a court ban on the North Las Vegas wastewater treatment facility after it was found that treated sewage was flowing into an open flood control channel.
The water was running from the city's new $300 million facility, and the county alleges it was happening without permission. North Las Vegas officials claimed they had sought approval to use Sloan Channel in lieu of the Las Vegas Wash. The channel is maintained by the county.
A smaller trickle of water woes arose from some North Las Vegans with complicated water bills. Several landlords battled with the city regarding outstanding water bills of delinquent tenants.
The snafu blocked new tenants from getting their water turned on and prevented landlords from turning off services that weren't paid.
The city faced potential lawsuits over the confusion from upset landlords.
The city argued that the landlords had the option to put the water note in their name and suggested they take better measures in background checking possible tenants.
In April, the city changed its notification process so landlords can have online access codes to keep tabs on water bills on their properties.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839.