NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee says the city's financial troubles aren't going away, and he's laying part of the blame on his predecessors.
The City of North Las Vegas has a long history of financial trouble. Now, city leaders must figure out how to pay the city's debts before they run out of funds.
Mayor Lee didn't single out anyone at Tuesday night's special city council meeting, but he blasted previous North Las Vegas administration for not providing a clearer picture of the city's dire financial situation.
"I'm not pointing fingers at any single person. This has been decades. It's just an accumulation of things that happened," Lee said. "When I say we were lied to, we were never given the proper due information what was going on here."
According to financial advisors, the city has bond payments to make within the next couple of years to pay for projects like its city hall building. State officials said the city can't keep taking from its utility fund. The utility fund money is needed to pay for water lines and sewer improvements.
Finance Director Darren Adair released new budget predictions for the next seven years. The state requires the city to have four percent of its annual budget in cash available at the end of each year. If the city cannot tap its utility fund, and its expenses continue to grow, the budget shortfall could extend until 2021.
"I think it's very important, and the gravity of this situation is urgent," Adair said.
Mayor Lee said the numbers don't reflect increased property tax revenue, because home prices are going up. Lee added the city is facing some rough times, but won't let the city go bankrupt.
"That's not going to happen. That's what I'm trying to tell you," Lee said. "Other things are going to take place that are positives that are coming our way, that will get us through this year. We will be in business by the end of the year."
Mayor Lee said they're going to have to get creative to shorten the city's budget shortfall. They plan to rent three floors of North Las Vegas City Hall to help raise money.
The city will also continue to save money by sharing services with Las Vegas.