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Property tax extensions that fund public safety on NLV ballot

Updated May 25, 2024 - 11:23 am

North Las Vegas voters will decide during the upcoming June 11 primary election whether a pair of property taxes will continue funding public safety and public works, including more than 100 “critical” employee positions.

Ballot questions 1 and 2 seek a 30-year extensions of a pair of already-existing taxes.

Approving or rejecting the measures won’t translate to any changes to future tax bills, Councilman Scott Black said during a Friday phone interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

However, “a ‘yes’ vote means a safer community,” he said.

Voters approved the current taxes in 1995 and 1996, and the city seeks to extend them before their shelf lives expire in 2025 and 2027.

A tax that funds fire stations, street maintenance and parks costs each property owner $0.235 for every $100 assessed value, according to the city. The other of $.20 cents per $100 assessed pays “exclusively” pays for police department operating expenses and equipment, the city said.

The two taxes total about $624 a year for someone who owns a home valued at $410,000, the median average in North Las Vegas. Property taxes are levied on only 35 percent of the property’s assessed value.

Voting “no” on the ballot questions could mean that tax dollars, which are collected by Clark County, could leave North Las Vegas, according to Black and the “Save Our Safety” campaign spearheaded by the unions that represent city police and firefighters.

“Instead, other entities that collect property taxes from property owners may receive a higher share of the property taxes that those other entities levy,” the city said.

The city proposed the ballot questions in the fall, which the Clark County Debt Management Commission later approved unanimously.

Hoping to combat “voter fatigue” by engaging on a single issue, North Las Vegas had originally proposed a special election for late 2023.

However, that election would’ve occurred when voter turnout is historically low because it was an off-election year. Eventually, city officials decided waiting until the city-wide primary.

Black said the time allowed the city to further educate North Las Vegas property owners of what’s at “stake.”

“The investment has been successful in building a safe community — a good return on their investment,” Black said.

The City Council hasn’t discussed how to cover the “budget shortfall” that would arise with a possible rejection of the ballot measures, Black said.

Finding out next month gives the city “adequate time” to plan for future budgets before the current taxes expire, he added.

Early voting, in which 164,548 North Las Vegas residents are eligible to cast a ballot, starts Saturday.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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