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NLV City Council could grow to 7 members

Updated March 27, 2023 - 12:07 pm

CARSON CITY — North Las Vegas’ City Council could get two new seats under legislation heard by lawmakers Monday evening.

Senate Bill 184, sponsored by Sens. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, and Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, would increase the number of seats on North Las Vegas’ City Council from four to six. The bill would also require the council to draw new district boundaries with roughly equal populations before the end of the year.

“We can strengthen the council’s representation by proportionally reducing each council members’ constituency,” Spearman said. “Small wards will improve transparency and accountability and increase in-person interactions between constituents and their representatives.”

If the bill is approved, elections for the new wards will be held in 2024.

The bill also would require the city manager and individuals in other appointed administrative positions to become residents of North Las Vegas within six months of being appointed to the position, and would require those individuals to maintain residence in the city throughout their tenure.

The proposed legislation would also mandate the city manager to prepare a diversity study annually and would bar the city attorney from providing legal advice to the mayor or any member of the council on matters unrelated to their official duties. The city manager would also be required to submit a report to legislative committees on vacant or leased space in the North Las Vegas City Hall.

Several members of the community and groups spoke in support of the bill, including Battle Born Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and SEIU Local 1107.

“The City of North Las Vegas is long overdue for the additional representation and support that we need,” said Dakota Hoskins, who works with SEIU Local 1107.

But the bill faced opposition from several groups and individuals. More than a dozen mayors of cities across Nevada signed onto a letter expressing opposition to the bill.

“Changes to a city’s charter, a living document, can have long-term consequences that unfortunately, can be unintended,” the letter, which was signed by North Las Vegas Mayor Pamela Goynes-Brown, stated.

Goynes-Brown, who was present in Carson City for the hearing, asked lawmakers to “trust me to run the city I was elected to run.”

“I’m sorry, but our community needs these resources more than it needs to pay for more politicians,” Goynes-Brown said.

Several groups and officials opposed the bill, including Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities, Urban Consortium, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and Henderson Mayor Michelle Romero.

Spearman began her presentation on the bill by vehemently refuting rumors that she brought the bill for her own personal political gain.

“Let me be clear. I have absolutely no interest in running, walking, standing, sleeping or any other activity that includes accepting the seat on North Las Vegas City Council,” Spearman said.

Spearman was defeated by Goynes-Brown in her bid for mayor in November.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

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