With only slight modifications, the Carson City Board of Supervisors adopted a priority list of cuts Thursday to ensure a balanced general fund budget for fiscal year 2010-11.
"We don't know what the (revenue) shortfalls will be," said City Manager Larry Werner. "December sales tax numbers will be available in February so we'll have an idea, but as we continue to get more tax numbers we'll have a better idea when we approach July 1," when the new budget cycle starts.
The list, ranked by department heads, officials and employee association leaders, names 142 items and the order in which they might be cut depending on where sales tax revenues come in.
"This allows us to react on an incremental basis, but if we see revenues starting to come in higher, we can start filling things in again," he said.
At the top of the priority list, saving the city $389,544, is to keep health benefits from increasing 9 percent. A worst-case scenario to cut 10 percent and save
$7.9 million would require that all 142 items be slashed, including eliminating fire and sheriff's personnel.
Werner anticipates having to cut about $3.5 million over the 2009-10 budget. Least likely to be cut will be personnel from public safety - the sheriff's and fire departments.
Werner assured supervisors that advance planning through the cutback priority list was necessary ensure the city isn't taken by surprise.
"We've got to be able to react to whatever happens," he said.
Supervisor Shelly Aldean said she was somewhat optimistic.
"Nationally, there's an increase in sales tax numbers, which bodes well for us," she said.