Road department decision needed

DAYTON -- Lyon County officials must decide on the latest route to relieve an impending road-fund shortage.

On Nov. 5, a proposed initiative for a 1/2-cent sales-tax increase dedicated to the road department was defeated by a 7,009 to 3,665 vote. If it had passed, it would have generated an estimated $800,000 per year for the beleaguered fund.

In September, county commissioners decided to wait until after the election to take action on Public Works Director Chuck Swanson's proposed money-saving organizational changes in the structure of the road department.

In light of the intitiative's failure, Swanson today will again ask county commissioners to give him direction on how to curb funding shortfalls.

"I will be presenting the same options I presented in September and open it up for discussion. Hopefully, I will get some idea of where the commissioners want to go," Swanson said. "We have got to do something. We are going broke."

Swanson has presented three possible options to the current organizational structure:

-- Reduce staffing from 29 employees to 21 and maintain an in-house work force;

-- Reduce staffing to 12 employees and contract out most responsibilities;

-- Reduce staffing to seven employees and go primarily to an outside contract operation.

Swanson has also been pursuing possible early buyouts for employees with a combined years-of-service and age totaling at least 70, hoping three to four will take the offer.

Comptroller Rita Evasovic has estimated that with no unexpected expenditures, the ending road fund balance on June 30, 2003, will be approximately $250,000. This includes savings gained by returning three road graders the county has used on a three-year lease-buy agreement.

Lyon County commissioners meet at the Administrative Complex, 27 S. Main St., Yerington at 9 a.m. today For information call 577-5037 (Dayton/Silver Springs) or 463-6531.


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