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North Las Vegas mayor boasts city is now bigger than Reno

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee on Tuesday highlighted his city’s economic comeback and dogged pursuit of growth at the 23rd State of the City address.

Last year was an opportunity for the city to lay a foundation for expansion, he said, adding that multiple agencies and companies invested a combined total of more than $800 million in North Las Vegas projects.

Lee told the crowd of more than 800 in a Texas Station conference hall that 2018 was a turning point for the city.

“Not only in infrastructure and development, but in our standing and how the world sees us,” he said. “We are no longer just a bedroom community to the Strip.”

And North Las Vegas has room to grow, with only half of the city’s 104 square-mile area developed, he said. Through a public-private agreement, work is underway on a 12-mile water line that will extend to Apex Industrial Park.

“That infrastructure combined with (the Nevada Department of Transportation’s) road work is turning Apex into a regional job creation zone that I’ve always envisioned,” Lee said.

The city has also experienced population growth, surpassing the quarter-million residents mark, Lee said, boasting that the city has overtaken Reno as Nevada’s third-largest city. It is not clear whether the city actually holds the spot.

“We are keeping up with the trend by bringing thousands of new homes in North Las Vegas, both luxury and affordable dwellings,” he said.

The mayor touted his administration’s efforts in speeding up the project approval process. Last year, he said, the city approved $880 million in building permits.

More visible development is on the horizon for North Las Vegas, but the city does have tangible proof of its financial turnaround.

A credit rating bump obtained last summer will help taxpayers save $40 million in interest payments over the next 18 years, allowing that money to be used for local services. City Manager Ryann Juden has called the rating boost a “crowning moment” for the city, which slid into junk bond status during the recession.

Lee said the city’s rebound has caught the attention of leaders from around the globe who travel to North Las Vegas to learn what they can do to be more efficient and ramp up growth in their communities.

“As a result of our work to redefine the city, our future tax base will be bigger and more diversified, and North Las Vegas will be better insulated from inevitable future economic downturns or corrections,” he said.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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