Supervisors meet to work out final budget

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Carson supervisors go into tonight's meeting with what is basically a balanced $44 million budget -- as long as they don't add any of the items requested by city departments.

But those departments are asking for more than $1.4 million in additions to the budget -- including $1 million in permanent costs such as added staff.

City Finance Director David Heath said that means the board must raise taxes or fees to pay for anything it adds off that list.

Potential Revenue Sources

Since they've already pretty much agreed on sales tax estimates for the coming year, the most obvious potential revenue source is a property tax increase. At $2.58 per $100 of assessed valuation, Carson City's property tax rate is one of the state's lowest. Legally, supervisors have the authority to raise it as high as $2.74. A nickel increase, however, would generate about $500,000.

Or they could impose a levy approved by voters years ago to build Fire Station No. 1 on Stewart Street which has never been imposed. Doing so would free up $230,000 a year in the city general fund.

Finally, the city's estimated share of a regional juvenile facility is $500,000 next year. The Legislature authorized all the counties participating in the Silver Springs center to raise property taxes enough to pay their share.

The other major possibility is raising franchise fees the city charges Sierra Pacific Power Co. and Southwest Gas.

Raising Sierra Pacific's fee a percent this year and Southwest Gas the same next year would raise about $630,000 the first year and $900,000 annually after that.

Other potential revenue sources available to the board are 911 franchise fees, which could generate $150,000, and water and sewer service franchise fees, which could add $100,000 to the pot. And a 10 percent increase in park and recreation fees could raise up to $135,000.

Once supervisors settle on how to raise more money and how much they are willing to do so, they can decide how to spend it.

Budget Requests

Through a series of public meetings, supervisors narrowed the list of departmental requests to a list taking up less than two pages. But there are some big ticket items on that list including Sheriff Rod Banister's request for a total of nine added personnel -- five in dispatch alone. The sheriff's requests would add more than $450,000 a year in ongoing costs. Banister listed his most critical needs as two supervisory positions in dispatch.

Fire officials requested more than $230,000 in budget additions. The majority of that is $180,000 to add four firefighters.

Also in public safety is the investigator position District Attorney Noel Waters has said he needs for several years.

Those are among the more than 20 new positions requested by different city departments. Others are in fleet management, alternative sentencing, community development, parks, information systems, the district court clerk's office and the library.

Altogether, the ongoing expenditures on the request list total $1.01 million. Supervisors will have to increase revenues to cover any of those on-going expenditures they approve.

In addition, supervisors are being asked for $415,701 in one-shot expenditures, including $183,051 in annual community support requests from agencies ranging from the Nevada Day Committee to Brewery Arts Center, RSVP and the Community Council on Youth.

The one-shot list also includes such things as fire equipment bags, hot shields and a thermal image video system costing $10,000. It includes a new sheriff's patrol car, $21,000 for outdoor sculpture at the cemetery and a variety of part-time and temporary staff positions.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center.


What: Carson City Supervisors budget hearing

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 William St.


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