Vital government services provided to Sunrise Manor and Whitney are heavily subsidized by Clark County, and combining the two towns into a city likely would burden residents with expenses totaling tens of millions of dollars.
That was the message county staff delivered to more than 300 people at a town hall Tuesday night at the Hollywood Recreation Center.
County commissioners hosted the meeting in response to a citizen committee’s proposal to combine and incorporate Sunrise Manor and Whitney. The resulting city would be Nevada’s third largest, with more than 260,000 residents.
Staff reported that the larger town, Sunrise Manor, generates tax revenue of close to $30 million. The county pays about $37 million for police and fire services there.
“The property tax revenue that’s currently being generated in Sunrise Manor, as well as the consolidated tax revenues allocated from the state, are not enough to cover the services provided by the county,” county Chief Financial Officer Jessica Colvin said after the meeting.
A new city would also need to find funding for courts, public works and parks, among other services. Money also would needed to construct city buildings and to hire staff.
Most residents who spoke during a public-comment period criticized the idea. A few hoisted signs showing their disapproval.
“What I saw is we simply can’t afford it,” Sunrise Manor resident Melissa Towbin, 60, said. “It’s not right if you can’t afford it. Let’s just go with what we got and make it better.”
Other residents said they felt like the proposal blindsided them.
“I feel like we’ve been invaded,” Sunrise Manor resident Frank Gnotta, 65, said. “We have somebody from the outside coming in wanting to form a city in our neighborhoods at our expense. We don’t need another layer of government.”
But the town hall also drew criticism from at least one member of the committee who advocated for a new city. Nicholas Phariss, 28, said he felt that the commission did not adequately allow those who proposed the measure to be heard.
“I feel our voice was very underrepresented compared to the commission’s,” he said.
While the idea of creating a city was met with lackluster response, the town hall offered Sunrise Manor and Whitney residents a forum to share concerns about their neighborhoods with the county commissioners who attended.
“I can tell you that there’s a lot of people who are frustrated in our area, so the idea of incorporating came from that frustration,” Sunrise Manor resident Melissa Moser, 45, said. “What can we do in our area to improve our parks?”
Other residents said the area required a larger police presence. Still more said that the area’s infrastructure sorely needs updates.
“I don’t understand why the west and southwest is coddled with new streets, and nothing is done here,” Sunrise Manor resident Roberto Rodriguez, 73, said. “We’re the oldest part of this county, and nothing is done with our streets.”
County commissioners who attended — Jim Gibson, Chris Giunchigliani, Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Steve Sisolak and Lawrence Weekly — said they were listening. They promised that funding from new bonds and fuel-tax revenue would bring relief to parks and roadways.
“We understand there is more that needs to be done,” Gibson said.
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.