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Proposal to extend taxes without special election stays alive in NLV

Updated November 4, 2023 - 6:48 pm

North Las Vegas is moving forward with an effort to extend a pair of long-term property taxes to fund public safety by three decades, but the measure would no longer be put up for a special election.

The city said the taxes would pay to hire police officers and build fire stations.

Last month, the City Council voted to forward the proposal to the Clark County Debt Management Commission. The items are listed on Thursday’s Debt Management Commission meeting agenda.

If the commission approves the measure, the council would again vote whether to submit the taxes as ballot questions for taxpayers to decide in an election.

North Las Vegas had considered holding a special election this year but has now set a June tentative date, when there is a citywide primary election, according to a spokesperson.

The property taxes in question are one of $0.235 for every $100 assessed, which funds street maintenance, parks and fire stations.

The other is of $0.20 for every $100 assessed, which funds operating expenses and equipment for public safety.

“There’s no additional cost,” Councilman Isaac Barron said during the Oct. 18 City Council meeting. “Taxpayers are not going to be suffering any additional hits.”

‘Not really a viable place without’

The taxes date to 1995 and 1996, when the original 30-year taxes were implemented. The city wants to extend both by 30 years.

In taxpayer impact: “The cost for the owner of a new $100,000 home is estimated to be up to ($152.25) per year,” which overall adds up to nearly $50 million annually, city staff wrote in the resolutions.

The plan for a special election before Dec. 12 would have landed during a time when voter turnout is historically low because of an off-election year.

But that would’ve allowed the city to combat “voter fatigue” and give residents an opportunity to engage in a single issue, a city spokesperson previously said.

Geoffrey Lawrence, research director for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a tax extension of 30 years was a long time, particularly in North Las Vegas, where medium household income is “relatively low.”

The institute is a private nonprofit that focuses on limited government and free market policies.

But Councilman Scott Black said the taxes were necessary for a growing North Las Vegas.

“A city is not really a viable place without public safety and investment,” he said during the October City Council meeting.

Mayor Pamela Goynes-Brown said that it was “a very important issue that we need the community’s support on.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com Follow on X @rickytwrites.

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