Las Vegas' annual report costs thousands

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By David Giuliani

Las Vegas city officials wanted to get the word out about its accomplishments over the last year, and it did so in an annual report released last month.

The cost to taxpayers: $5,900.

That’s a cost at least one city councilman and a mayoral candidate are questioning.

The city mailed out the 16-page, glossy booklet to residents, its production costing $4,652 and postage $1,255.

It was a project that Mayor Tony Marquez was greatly interested in. An Optic public records request yielded a number of e-mails in which the mayor asked about the status of the booklet; at one point, he urged city staffers to move quicker, saying they were falling behind.

The booklet’s third page included the mayor’s photo and a statement from him. He wrote about his election, his promises and his actions. And he included his regular reference to the “vocal minority.”

“Together, we kept our vision focused and never faltered through the praise and the criticism of the vocal minority,” the mayor wrote. “We’ve recognized we have accomplished a lot in two years, but more needs to be done.”

The next page included short statements from the four City Council members, while Page 6 contained a statement from City Manager Timothy Dodge. The last page featured quotes from people praising the city administration.

“I have seen this administration show dignity and respect for the citizens of Las Vegas. They are always willing to ask and invite the community for suggestions and comments on making Las Vegas the community we all deserve,” Annissa Apodaca was quoted as saying.

Boxing promoter Lenny Fresquez, who got $15,000 from the city earlier this year to advertise his local event featuring Holly Holm, also had good things to say about City Hall.

“The current administration has been great! If it were not for the effort that this administration and City Council made, we would have never put on the Holly Holm show,” Fresquez wrote.

Asked about the booklet, City Councilman Andrew Feldman said he didn’t like the cost of putting out the annual report.

“That’s a lot of money for something that could have been put out on the web site, especially with the state budget cuts the state is facing that will filter down to municipalities,” Feldman said.

He also said he would have liked the booklet to have also included “barriers and problems we are facing.”

“I don’t think we should always be painting a rosy picture. We should tell the truth, then include a plan on how to overcome the barriers we face,” he said.

San Miguel County Treasurer Alfonso Ortiz, who plans to run for mayor in March, said the booklet contained pretty pictures and the positive side of the story. But he said it failed to include the city’s challenges.

If the city was doing as well as the booklet portrayed, he said he wouldn’t feel the need to run for mayor.

Ortiz suggested the city get sponsorships from local businesses for its annual report, helping to defray the costs.

The mayor took exception to Feldman’s criticism.

“I represent the haves and the have-nots equally and will continue to do so because not everyone can afford to have computers.  I’m not surprised Feldman wants to exclude the have-nots of our community and cater to the haves,” Marquez said.

As for the criticism from Ortiz and Feldman about the content of the booklet, the mayor said via e-mail, “The Optic does a good job writing about city challenges.”