Clark County Fire Department’s emergency response teams saw little growth in the eight years after the Great Recession.
That changed in 2016, when a team of six paramedics and EMTs were added to man an ambulance around-the-clock at its fire station at Oquendo Road and Decatur Boulevard.
Clark County Commissioners continued that trend on Tuesday, approving six new fire department positions to create a similar team stationed nearby in the southwestern Las Vegas Valley, bringing the department’s emergency response roster up to 650 employees.
“That part of town has seen exceptional growth and is projected for even more exceptional growth in the next couple years so we’re trying to get ahead of the curve as much as we can,” Fire Chief Greg Cassell said. “The fire engine will be available for calls more because it won’t be on as many medical calls. Response times will go down and you’ll get better service.”
The fire department positions were among 94 commissioners approved Tuesday. Job listings and application information will be posted at governmentjobs.com/careers/clarkcounty.
The new workers are expected to cost the county about $7.8 million over the next year. Funding will come from the general fund and from revenue-generating departments.
The positions span multiple departments and include attorneys, construction workers and corrections officers. Commissioners said they were pleased with the addition of code enforcement officers to crack down on illegal short-term rentals and squatters living in abandoned homes.
“It’s definitely something much needed in our mature areas of Clark County,” Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said. “It’s taken years to really move forward in terms of our code enforcement issues here, so I think it’s going to make a tremendous difference.”
Although commissioners were pleased with the new additions, they recognized that the county is still working to overcome cuts from the recession.
“We’re doing (hiring) in the building department and public works in order to get some of these projects going,” Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said. “But we’ve got nothing going in comprehensive planning, and there’s just as big a backlog there.”
Staff requested 193 new positions this year, but the general fund was only able to provide for 43. Clark County Manager Yolanda King said that’s been par for the course for the past three years.
“We know the funding we have available does not nearly touch the needs of all the departments,” King said. “My thought is we have to be smart about how we grow, and particularly being smart in taking a look at what are the highest priorities for the county in how we provide services and who we provide services to.”
Commissioner Larry Brown said the county needed to start seeking more public-private partnerships to bridge the gaps.
“The county can’t do it all by itself,” he said.
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.