Lyon budget a struggle, but no layoffs, tax hikes

Lyon County's department heads and new County Manager Dennis Stark have decided on budget-cutting measures for the next fiscal year, but, through attrition and some moving around, the county should avoid laying off any workers.

"We're going to have to work harder with limited resources," he said. "Everyone realized the state of the economy overall here and our budget constraints and they volunteered and negotiated and cooperated in the whole budget process."

He said there will be some replacements that were an absolute necessity, but no layoffs.

Stark said they looked at two positions from the building department that could be eliminated, and the people in those jobs could transfer to available positions in the jail.

The switch would require an administrative assistant in the building department to become a records specialist at the jail; and a building inspector would become a jailroom controller.

Stark said although the jobs were not identical, the workers' skills were transferable.

That kind of maneuvering is what kept the draft budget, approved by the commissioners last week, balanced.

Comptroller Josh Foli said because of low revenue growth, there were no new hire requests, and that many department heads voluntarily reduced their budgets.

Among the departments that will receive less funds next year are the county commission office, district Attorney's office, library department, computer information systems, search and rescue, district court, translators, parks and recreation, building, planning, engineering, cemeteries, vehicle maintenance, road and utilities.

Departments with larger budgets include the clerk-treasurer, recorder, the assessor, facilities, child support, public guardian, human resources, comptroller, dispatch, animal control, sheriff, emergency management, court services, Juvenile Master Court, Walker River Justice Court, Fernley Justice Court, Dayton Justice Court, juvenile probation, public defender, public health nurse and RTC.

The fairgrounds budget will stay the same.

Anticipated revenues for the General Fund are about $100,000 higher than 2007-08, but much lower than the previous year's increase of $1,800,000.

Foli blamed the lower amount on stagnant or declining revenues from building permits, recorder's fees and consolidated taxes.

But the good news was the beginning fund balance was about $590,000 higher than anticipated, thanks to a decrease in the amount of overtime that was paid.

The decrease wasn't expected to continue, so Foli is treating the savings as a one-time event, to be transferred to the Surplus Building Maintenance Fund.

Another source of savings is that as employees retire, some positions will not be filled, and those that are will be filled as entry-level positions at lower wages.

The cost of retirement buyouts was roughly equal to the amount of those savings.

Foli said the budget proposes no new taxes, as the tax cap limits the amount a higher rate would generate.

The budget of the Central Lyon County Vector Control District has actually decreased from 4 cents to 3.5 cents, but the rate can't be transferred since the vector tax is not countywide.

Foli also moved funds around to help balance the budget, such as moving 22 cents of the Medical Indigent Fund's tax rate to the General Fund, and 4 cents of the Special Medical Indigent Fund to the Surplus Building Maintenance Fund for jail funding, but should be returned in one or two years.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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