North Las Vegas City Council members unanimously approved a temporary shared services study with the city of Las Vegas this month, finalizing an agreement that could see the two cities share everything from library to animal control services by the end of May.
The six-month exploratory arrangement OK’d by both city councils on Nov. 6 aims to dig up efficiency measures and cost savings in each municipality, citing city court, traffic and economic development services as possible jumping-off points for a longer-term shared services deal.
Eight other departments, including finance, business licensing and redevelopment, also made their way onto a short list of 11 shared services targets.
The city already pays a fee to share jail services with its neighbor to the south, though officials in both cities agreed they won’t be looking to join police or fire department forces anytime soon.
North Las Vegas stands to gain an independent financial analysis and management consulting contract under the terms of the deal but will have to repay Las Vegas for the cost of those services if the cities decide to tie the knot next spring.
If the pair get cold feet, the cost of all services provided by the city of Las Vegas will be capped at $50,000.
Former Clark County Manager Thom Reilly is set to serve as North Las Vegas’ independent consultant under the arrangement, while city government affairs liaison Ryann Juden is to take up a post as one of two overall leads on the project.
Reilly, speaking at a council discussion on the effort Nov. 5, hailed the agreement as a great “first step” toward reviving growth and development in the recession-racked city.
“It just makes a lot of sense to be more cost-efficient and to save dollars,” Reilly said. “That’s what this whole thing is about. … If it doesn’t do one of three things — generate revenue, reduce costs or stabilize service delivery levels — we’re not interested in the conversation.”
Ward 3 North Las Vegas Councilwoman Anita Wood took a more cautious view.
“I just want to make sure people know we’re not just under review from the city of Las Vegas,” Wood said. “I don’t have a problem sharing services, but it sounds like there is no benefit for Las Vegas.
“This seems very one-sided. … I just want to make sure what we’re working on here is something we’re working on together.”
First-term Councilman Isaac Barron spoke to similar concerns echoed around his ward, reassuring constituents that the city was in no danger of being swallowed up by its larger neighbor.
“I’m very happy with the level of transparency under this deal and very grateful for the people we’ve assembled to help out,” Barron said. “But I just want to reiterate to our constituents that we don’t want to lose our identity.
“As far as we’re concerned, North Las Vegas will always be North Las Vegas.”
North Las Vegas resident and former Craig Ranch Golf Course owner Terry Stimson are set to join former Rep. Shelley Berkley, Nevada Taxpayers Association President Carole Vilardo and Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kristin McMillan on an 11-member citizens advisory council formed to draw up recommendations on the effort.
Citizens advisory council members plan to meet from 3 to 5 p.m. every other Thursday starting in late December.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at email@example.com or 702-477-3839.