City finds $1.6 million extra

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Carson City will receive an unexpected $1.6 million in funds from this year's sales tax revenue, a boost to an already positive economic outlook for next year.

Still, city administrators will propose a conservative budget while asking for seven new firefighters, three deputy sheriffs and a handful of new employees for other departments.

"This year, revenues came in much higher than anticipated a year ago when doing the budget," said City Manager Linda Ritter.

She will propose a budget package to city supervisors Monday, asking to set aside $2 million in reserve funds, using the cushion of the unexpected revenue from this year.

While preparing next year's budget, the city is not factoring in income it may see with the expected opening of Wal-Mart on Hot Springs Road in an overall 1.6 percent projected revenue increase.

"We feel that's a prudent thing to do," Ritter said. "That's why we feel confident to add people; we're so conservative on revenue estimates."

Increasing reserve funds will allow the city a buffer against future losses in revenues, guarding itself from a similar blow felt last year when two major retailers left.

City departments that were asked to cut spending by 3 percent last year will not see spending fully restored, but employees in public safety and computer departments will be added. Total expenditures are proposed to increase by 1.3 percent.

The additional seven firefighters proposed in the budget would be paid with funds the fire department is paying in overtime to its current employees who have to work extra hours to cover shifts, Ritter said.

The city is not asking to raise property tax rates or fees this year.

With available funding, the city is proposing to spend one-time funds on requests not filled with last year's tight budget. After deducting money for the revenue stabilization and facility funds, the city has $2.7 million to pay for capital improvements. The top four requests are:

n Construction of a Sheriff's Department administration building - $9 million

n A new kennel for the animal shelter - $400,000

n Digital cameras for sheriff patrol vehicles - $98,000

n City hall expansion - $350,000

The budget will be presented to supervisors Monday. Once adopted, it must be reviewed and approved by the state Department of Taxation in May.

Contact Jill Lufrano at or 881-1217.


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