City to hire open space manager

Funds for Carson City's open-space program will be used to hire a full-time city staff member to administer the program.

The new employee will make around $61,000 a year, a salary which city officials believe will draw quality applicants.

The responsibilities for administering the program have been in the hands of Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens, Community Development Director Walt Sullivan, development Senior Planner Juan Guzman and Parks Planner Vern Krahn.

All have other full-time responsibilities and are advisers to multiple city committees.

"Things are getting to be more than current staff can handle," Kastens said in a recent Board of Supervisors meeting. "The burden of open space is beginning to take its toll."

Kastens said other committees needed more attention than they've been receiving.

The open space program was funded under the Quality of Life initiative in 1996. Question 18 authorized a quarter of 1 percent sales tax increase to fund open space, parks and trails. The tax raises about $1.7 million a year with 40 percent going towards open space, 40 percent towards parks and 20 percent for maintenance of new park projects.

Open space earns about $700,000, and the ballot question did allow for a portion of the money to be used for administrative services.

City supervisors approved the open space manager Sept. 7.

The open space manager will negotiate with landowners for open space and will be help manage open space among other duties.

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