City's community support grants to be cut

Carson City officials will cut community support grants by 10 percent this year, and at least one community nonprofit says it will make it more difficult for them to help all the people who come in the door.

The number of clients seeking drug and alcohol treatment at the Community Counseling Center rose by 10 percent during 2006.

"Even if funds don't have to be cut, decisions have to be made about priorities," said Mary Bryan, administrator of the center.

The most recent taxable sales figures illustrate city officials' budget worries: November 2006 taxable sales of roughly $72.6 million, for example, were down by nearly 13 percent compared to those in November 2005.

Not only will the city cut back on the pool of available funds for nonprofits this year, no new recipients will be added to the list. Any who opt out of applying this year will offer even "more savings to the general fund," said City Manager Linda Ritter.

Last year, supervisors gave $290,000 to more than a dozen nonprofits - $100,000 of which was for one-time expenses. This coming year's total amount available will be $260,000.

Other recipients last year include Advocates to End Domestic Violence, Nevada Hispanic Services and Nevada Day Inc.

The nonprofits will be required to submit applications and discuss their requests with the supervisors before the amounts are determined and approved this spring. Some officials are adamant about continuing the oral presentations because it's government money being awarded to private nonprofits.

"It's a necessary part of the process," said Supervisor Shelly Aldean.

The supervisors "prefer to have the recipients make presentations so the public can hear how the services are supporting the community," she said.

The Community Counseling Center received $55,000 from the grant program last year.

It was an $8,000 increase over the previous year, but another grant source amount ended up smaller, resulting in the effect being "canceled out," Bryan said.

Donations are important in keeping the center going. It "struggles to find funding," for substance-abuse programs that require about $1 million a year to operate, she said.

Bryan is completing a report about the center and its activities for 2006. For example, plans to open a transitional living facility were put on hold because the center "is not financially in a position to undertake this type of project at this time," her report states.

"I don't want to set a cap and say we can't continue to treat people," she said. "But if you can't treat people when they want it, sometimes the opportunity goes away."

The supervisors this spring will consider how funds are awarded.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at or 882-2111, ext. 215.

In other business

The supervisors will request that the Nevada Department of Transportation sell off any property near the Carson City Freeway the state no longer needs. Pieces along the completed section are the focus of the request, but a half-acre east of the Highway 50 East and Russell Way intersection is being singled out. It's next to the Plaza 50 shopping center and is considered important for large mixed-use project that could combine both sites sometime in the future.


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