North Las Vegas City Council to keep recreation centers open

Two North Las Vegas recreation centers will keep their doors open after city officials approved a concessions agreement with the police officers union on Sept. 7.

Silver Mesa Recreation Center, 4025 Allen Lane, and Neighborhood Recreation Center, 1638 N. Bruce St., were slated for closure in October after city officials said they needed $1.5 million to keep the two city-run centers open.

The council voted last month to close the centers to help plug a $4.4 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2012.

Councilwoman Anita Wood voted against the union agreement with the 360-member Police Officers Association, saying it was "using a Band-Aid to stop a gushing, bleeding wound."

Mayor Shari Buck said that while the agreement isn't perfect, it meets the goal of keeping the recreation centers open while balancing the budget, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Dozens of residents protested on City Hall's steps as they ramped up efforts to spread the word about their campaign to recall Buck. By the end of the night, about 50 signatures were on the petition. Resident Mary Marciano, 61, said she signed the petition because she was concerned about the city's financial future and did not want to have state taxation officials assume the city's finances.

As media outlets gathered in her office, Buck released a statement calling the recall efforts "ridiculous."

The City Council also approved an interlocal agreement with Clark County and the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas and Boulder City for shared funding of regional homeless coordination.

North Las Vegas approved $100,816.43 of funds from the city's general fund to be contributed to regional weather shelter costs and the homeless census.

The funding is 5 percent less than what the city gave last year.

As of the last count, about 43,000 people were homeless throughout the valley.

"We're reducing this funding at a time when numbers are showing the actual number of homeless, whether chronic or temporary, is going up," Wood said.

About 65 percent of the money allocated will be used for shelter improvements so those living on the streets can get relief from extreme hot and cold temperatures.

In 2003, the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition adopted a Homeless Intervention Proposal, which helped create the partnership among the cities and Clark County to share funding on a population-based formula to pay for regional homeless activities.

Councilman Robert Eliason expressed concerns that the money would benefit the homeless who wanted to be helped rather than those who want to live on the street.

Tyrone Thompson of the planning coalition's committees on homelessness and youth told council members that teams of volunteers, including church groups, law enforcement officials and others, are dispatched into the city's underground tunnel systems, shelters and elsewhere outdoors to make contact with people.

The count also takes place within the Clark County School District, he added.

"You'd be amazed at how many children are not going to a home," Thompson said.

Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at or 383-0492.


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