Henderson announces public meetings to discuss money woes

The city of Henderson is facing a $19 million budget shortfall and wants feedback from residents and business owners on how bridge that gap.

City staff will hold a series of informational meetings at various locations to discuss the budget and present recommendations made in February by the Special Budget Ad Hoc Committee report.

The first meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday at Whitney Ranch Recreation Center, 1575 Galleria Drive.

Recommendations from the report include rate increases for city services, service cuts, alternatives to service delivery, and revenue enhancements including a ballot initiative to raise the city’s property tax rate as much as 20 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The city is facing a $2 million annual budget and $17 million annual infrastructure shortfall. Revenue from the property tax increase would generate up to $16.5 million per year, according to the report.

“When the (committee) presented their recommendations, the mayor and council asked us to go out into the community and inform our residents about the committee’s work and what their recommendations were,” City Manager Jacob Snow said. “We will be working in the coming weeks to be in as many places as we can to help share that information.”

The city will host meetings in each City Council ward, and will also visit community, civic and professional groups. Representatives from various departments including public works, parks and recreation, finance and public safety will be present. The mayor and City Council members might attend some of the meetings.

At the Feb. 18 council meeting, Mayor Andy Hafen asked Snow’s office to put together a presentation that can be taken out to the community and businesses on the city’s needs and the report’s findings. The city manager’s office plans to present its report after these series of public meetings.

The city has maintained a property tax rate of 71 cents per $100 of assessed valuation since 1991, considerably lower than Las Vegas, at $1.06 per $100 of assessed valuation, and North Las Vegas, at $1.16 per $100 of assessed valuation. The city could only approve a 3-cent increase without a vote of Henderson residents.

In 2005, the state approved a property tax cap with annual increase limits of 3 percent for residential and 8 percent for commercial properties. The idea of the law nine years ago was to prevent homeowners from being priced out of their residences by rapidly increasing property taxes.

Contact Arnold M. Knightly at aknightly@reviewjournal.com or 477-3882. Find him on Twitter: @KnightlyGrind

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