City leaders look at ways to cut costs

While this first round of proposed budget cuts isn't expected to have a great deal of impact on how the Carson City provides services - at least for now - city supervisors will consider Thursday a staff-produced list of ways to cut costs.

"We're trying to redo things so it won't have an impact by looking at all of our processes," said Carson City Manager Linda Ritter.

More than a dozen city positions won't be filled anytime soon. Several will go unmanned for at least 18 months.

The focus of the Carson City Sheriff's Department, for example, is to cut expenses without affecting service levels.

"All of ours are non-law enforcement positions," said Sheriff Kenny Furlong.

A service technician job won't be filled, a commander position will go unfilled until budget concerns ease, and two other jobs were eliminated - two of four jobs citywide eliminated through this employee-incentive device to save the city money.

"The last thing you want to do is be in such a crunch it's affecting citizens and your current employees," he said. "We believe we could absorb those duties."

Total reductions for the sheriff's department: $93,000 during this fiscal year and $331,800 next year.

The department seeks to focus on such issues as traffic-related deaths, drugs and gang crimes.

The Parks and Recreation Department has proposed to cut one recreation position and part-time van driver. It will also suspend hiring of one parks maintenance worker and not replace a parks coordinator through the voluntary separation program.

"It's hard to predict whether service will be affected," said Roger Moellendorf, parks director. "Does a restroom go uncleaned longer? This is one of those things that define level of service."

"Virtually everybody has come to the table" with budget cutting ideas, Ritter said.

Not required to propose cuts during this first round are the library, finance department and district attorney's office. The new library director won't start work until later this month while the new district attorney and finance director both just started.

"This is so these new people have a chance to look at their operations," Ritter said.

This list is worth more than $663,000 total this fiscal year and will begin immediately. These cuts would continue through the next fiscal year budget, which ends June 30, 2008. Cuts next year will save the city an estimated $1.4 million.

Whether more cuts will be necessary depends on whether tax revenues stay below expectations. Two more rounds of cuts could be required if revenues don't turn around during the next 18 months, Ritter warned.

The next round of reductions is expected to be presented in the spring. If a third round of cuts is necessary, it will be presented during the summer, she said.

If lackluster revenues persist, the long-term goal is to shave off 5 percent of the city's expenses by 2008.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Positions not to be filled

Facilities department

Building maintenance worker, suspended

Sheriff's Department

Service technician, eliminated

Commander position, suspended

Management assistant and accounting technician, voluntarily eliminated by employees

Public Works

Deputy public works manager and environmental control supervisor, eliminated

Senior engineering technician, suspended

Juvenile

probation

Work program assistant, suspended

Parks and Recreation

Recreation position and part-time van driver, eliminated

Parks maintenance worker, suspended

Parks coordinator, voluntarily eliminated by employee

Human Resources

Human resources generalist, eliminated

Treasurer/assessor

Billing technician, eliminated

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