2012-06-22 — yahoo.com
Despite all of its suburban trimmings, North Las Vegas is officially a disaster area.
After five years of declining property taxes, massive layoffs and questionable spending, leaders of the blue-collar, family-oriented city outside Las Vegas declared a state of emergency, invoking a rarely used state law crafted for unforeseen disasters.
No matter that the statute, which allows municipalities to suspend union contracts and avoid paying scheduled salary increases, doesn't actually include fiscal emergencies among the list of potential disasters.
"It says, in case of 'emergency such as.' You can't list how many different types of emergencies there are in the world," City Council member Wade Wagner said of the move, which will save the city $9 million.
Union workers, long among the highest compensated government employees in southern Nevada, claim the city won't be able to defend the emergency designation in court. The police union filed a lawsuit Friday claiming the city was misusing the law.
Without the emergency declaration, the city claims it would have to lay off 217 public safety workers to afford the salary increases required under its police and fire union contracts. Libraries would close and recreation centers would no longer offer swimming and Spanish classes.
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