LETTER: City not afraid of tough spending questions

To the editor:

Your Oct. 27 editorial, “City survey says: Public isn’t asked about fiscal issues,” was excessively critical of the city of Las Vegas. The editorial writer seemed to miss the main point — that the city of Las Vegas is conducting a citizen survey to get feedback on key issues and give our residents the chance to help shape their city. Instead of applauding the city for seeking this type of input, the editorial says the city is asking the “wrong questions.”

To me, any feedback we can get from the public we serve is a good thing. Sadly, the editorial writer sees it differently. The accusation is that the city fails to ask enough about city funding and spending. What is not recognized or acknowledged is that the city has engaged the public on funding and spending going all the way back to 2009. We have conducted no less than 19 town hall meetings across the city to talk about funding concerns during the recession. More recently, we also asked direct questions about funding and spending on the city’s YourVoiceVegas.com website. Even the survey the editorial attacks asks respondents to prioritize what programs are most important to them.

The city of Las Vegas has done a tremendous job navigating the difficulties of the recession and avoiding the financial hardships that have plagued so many municipalities across the nation and right here in Nevada. We did that with tough fiscal management, but another key to that success was a strong dialogue with our citizens. We have engaged them on budget issues for years now.

The city of Las Vegas has never been afraid to ask tough questions of itself. Hence the reason for the survey in the first place. To even say the results of the survey are “rigged” is completely unfair and an attack on the integrity of all associated with the city. The truth is your city does listen concerning the budget. If you want proof, all one has to do is look at the city’s financial condition following the Great Recession. We clearly did more than a few things right. It’s a shame the editorial failed to recognize that fact.

Elizabeth N. Fretwell

Las Vegas

The writer is Las Vegas city manager.

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