NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The clock is ticking for North Las Vegas to get its financial affairs in order.
The city has faced a serious cash crisis for years and declared a financial state of emergency on two occasions. The city will be forced to settle with its police, fire and other unions for millions in back pay.
A financial doomsday is nothing new for the city. Mayor John Lee said years of money mismanagement are finally coming to a head.
"We are prepared to try and put this nightmare behind us," Lee said.
The latest financial emergency involves union contracts that leave the city on the hook for more than $20 million. That is in addition to an $18 million budget hole for next year.
The budget was the topic of a special city council meeting Tuesday night.
"We need to settle the litigation with our unions," City Manager Jeff Buchanan said. "We're doing the best we can. We're in a tough spot, and we're trying really hard to listen to our partners, our stakeholders, our employees. They are truly the engine that makes this city run."
Buchanan said the cash-strapped city can generate $7.5 million dollars, but the plan is going to be difficult to implement.
The financial balancing act means the city will consider further reducing its day-to-day cash on-hand balance. City leaders may also ask the Attorney General's Office for permission to use More Cops Tax money for a settlement.
North Las Vegas Police Officers Association President Michael Yarter said his members are owed approximately $10 to $12 million. He says they will likely settle for approximately $4 million.
"This is a give and take, and we have given back in the past, and this is what this is in the future, if our membership agrees to it. We're not quite at that point yet," Yarter said.
In the meantime, the city has to find a way to balance its budget and settle with its unions before April 15. That's when city officials have to submit the city's financial status to the state for next year's budget.
The City of North Las Vegas has released more than 1,100 workers in the past three years, including several administrators who lost their jobs last month. Additionally, the North Las Vegas Detention Center closed its doors, and inmates were moved to the Las Vegas Detention Center.
City leaders will meet with union representatives every week until the deadline. City officials say they are hopeful they can save the city from its financial crisis.