With general fund revenues coming in about
$3.5 million less than projected this year, Carson City will be looking to trim its 2010-11 budget by as much as 10 percent, Finance Director Nick Providenti said Thursday.
"Based on the sales tax numbers coming in as they are, (City Manager) Larry Werner has asked all department heads to submit separate budgets cutting 5 percent, 6 percent and 10 percent," Providenti said.
The department heads will then evaluate and rank the suggestions to decide what can be cut most easily, or with the least amount of pain.
"There could be layoffs," Providenti said. "We just don't know yet. Ten percent from a $60 million expense budget is $6 million, so we don't know about layoffs. We're not sure we'll have to go that far yet. We might be able to do it through attrition."
The city has about 600 employees and about 18 departments, he said.
Least likely to see any big cuts will be public safety - the sheriff's and fire departments - which make up 45-50 percent of expenditures, he said.
Providenti said decreased sales tax collections as well as less revenue from the city's landfill are the biggest contributing factors to the shortfall. Property taxes remain fairly stable.
"The proposed cuts should work, assuming revenues stay where they are," Providenti said. "It was in September, October and November of last year when everything started getting bad. We're hoping things will stabilize this coming year."
Due to the revenue difficulties, budget hearings are likely to start a little earlier than usual this year - in late January or early February.
"We'll be taking our recommendations from the department heads to the Board of Supervisors then, to get direction about what they'd like us to do," Providenti said.
"Our car dealers will be opening at their new location around March, so we're hoping to see a boost from there. There is some light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
A tentative budget is due to the state's Department of Taxation by April 15 and a final budget is due May 15, he said.