North Las Vegas looks at ways to further trim costs

Budget woes continued for North Las Vegas on Wednesday as city leaders considered ways to further trim an already reduced 2010 spending plan.

“We’re hurting,” Phil Stoeckinger, finance director for North Las Vegas, said during a review of the city’s finances at the evening’s City Council meeting. “I don’t know if we’ve seen the bottom yet.”

A steeper than expected decline in revenue at the end of the 2009 fiscal year left the city scrambling to make up a $14 million shortfall for 2010. The 2010 fiscal year began July 1.

Consolidated tax receipts for May were more than 28 percent lower than a year earlier, the worst decline since at least 1980. It was the ninth consecutive month of double-digit decline in such revenue for the city.

Unemployment in North Las Vegas is at 14.8 percent, compared to 13.1 percent in Las Vegas and 12.5 percent statewide.

The city in May adopted an $816.9 million budget for 2010.

Declining revenues had forced the city to trim about $31 million from its originally planned general fund budget for fiscal year 2010. The $202 million budget is about $21 million less than 2009’s adopted general fund budget.

The city eliminated 67 vacant positions, postponed several projects and suspended the popular Tastes & Tunes and BalloonaPalooza festivals to save money.

The city’s employee unions also agreed to contract concessions including cost-of living deferrals. Savings to the city’s general fund from the concessions totaled about $7.8 million.

Stoeckinger recommended the city consider asking employees for further concessions. He also suggested looking at combining some departments and furthering across-the-board departmental budget cuts.

Mayor Shari Buck said cost-cutting to preserve jobs should be the city’s priority.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0385.

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