North Las Vegas, Nevada may not be home to rioters, wind-damaged homes, or floods, but despite the beauty of its brand new City Hall building and suburban houses, the city has been declared a disaster area.
Yahoo News reports that the declaration comes after five years of declining property taxes, massive layoffs, and questionable spending (perhaps the gleaming marble floors of City Hall), the blue-collar community outside Las Vegas has declared a state of emergency, invoking a state law that is rarely used, and is crafted for unforseen disasters.
City Council member Wade Wagner said of the move, which will save the city $9 million, that:
“It says, in case of ‘emergency such as.’ You can’t list how many different types of emergencies there are in the world.”
With this justification, city council members in North Las Vegas declared the disaster, even though the statue makes no mention of fiscal emergencies as a potential disaster.
The International Business Times reports, however, that North Las Vegas is not the only city in America struggling with declining property values, rising expenses and layoffs. Despite this, the city is just one of a few to declare its fiscal struggles as an emergency. Those cities to go before them, Stockton, California and Los Angeles, saw legal challenges when they declared an emergency. Wagner, however, defended the city’s decision, stating:
“We are in a fiscal emergency. North Las Vegas is ground zero basically for foreclosures in the nation. There are only a handful of places that have been hit as hard as North Las Vegas. So, because our property taxes have declined so much, we really had to invoke this.”
Some residents, like Jennifer Meyers, are not so happy with the ruling. Yahoo News reports that Meyers moved to North Las Vegas before the housing collapse, so that her kids would be able to play in the street and not worry about crime. She stated of the disaster declaration that:
“It makes it sound like our buildings are all on fire and they don’t have water to put it out or something. It doesn’t sound like a place you would want to move to.”
Do you think that North Las Vegas, Nevada had the right to declare a state of emergency, despite the fact that there was no natural disaster in the area?