City prepares for impacts of legislative session

Carson City - along with every other city and county in the state - will be keeping a close eye to the Legislature when it convenes Feb. 7, said City Manager Larry Werner.

With a state budget shortfall projected to be anywhere from

$1 billion to $3 billion, and a new governor who has vowed to not raise taxes, something will have to give, and city officials don't want to be caught off guard.

"What we're mainly watching for are bill drafts that would transfer services from state to city," Werner said.

There has been talk that those sorts of shifts could affect departments such as Health and Human Services, he said.

"We've had discussions with our Health and Human Services and the Fire Marshal's Office, and maybe Juvenile Probation could be affected," he said, "but we're just watching and waiting right now. We have not heard anything."

Werner said city officials are waiting to hear Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State address on Jan. 24 for clues as to what might be ahead on the local level.

"We want to see what sort of sense we can get from that, and we'll distribute the information to the different departments and try to find out how it will impact them," he said.

Werner said there also has been some conversation about changes to taxes, such as exchanging property taxes for sales taxes.

"That's just rumor at this point, so we'll have to wait and see what happens. We've asked all our departments to pay attention and then decide if there will be any fiscal impacts," Werner said.

But city leaders have not sat idly crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

"Right now, our plans are the same as last year in holding the line. Revenues are better than anticipated, but we're putting them into contingency and stabilization funds so that we can build up our reserves and be able to react if something happens," Werner said. "Also, any (job) vacancies that occur aren't being filled unless they're absolutely needed."

On another proactive note, Werner said Gov. Sandoval met with city and county managers about a month ago through the Nevada Association of Counties.

"We expressed to him, 'Just talk to us if you're considering something, and maybe we can come up with a solution,'" Werner said. "We'd rather help with a solution than just have something handed to us."


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