Proposed budget presented to Carson City supervisors

The Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday told staff to make minor adjustments to the tentative fiscal year budget and capital improvement plan (CIP) before bringing it back in May for final approval.

Nancy Paulson, chief financial officer, presented the proposed $150.59 million budget and $31.48 million CIP.

The budget includes $80.52 from the general fund leaving it with an ending fund balance of $5.16 million or 7.56 percent.

The CIP includes $5.85 million from the general fund, $12.38 million from the sewer fund primarily for ongoing construction at the Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF), and $13.67 million from the various Enterprise Funds.

The city departments initially requested about $10 million for capital improvements from the general fund, but little more than half that was allocated in the tentative budget.

Some of the major CIP projects include $1.42 million to replace the city’s financial and assessor/treasurer/clerk software systems, $1.07 million for fleet for the fire department and Sheriff’s Office, and $3.88 million in road projects.

There was about $1 million in supplemental requests — department requests to increase the previous year’s budget for specific line items.

The changes made by the board were to drop the Arlington Square ice rink from the budget and to add a position, to be funded by savings elsewhere, for another fire inspector.

The ice rink was discussed earlier this month at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, where the Parks, Recreation and Open Space department said the rink was losing money and in need of new equipment.

The commission decided then to try to gauge public interest in keeping the rink going and finding alternatives for funding it, including third party donors or contractors.

Supervisor Lori Bagwell suggested the addition of a fire inspector because of a jump in building activity, which she said was running into bottlenecks with fire inspections.

“We’re currently struggling with the growth, but what concerns me more is not being able to get to annual inspections. We’re down 25 percent,” said Sean Slamon, Carson City fire chief.

The addition of a fire inspector, which will be paid for by additional revenues and savings in the city’s contract with its building department contractor, was approved 4-1 with Supervisor Brad Bonkowski voting no.

Much of the afternoon’s discussion involved the sewer fund and specifically plans to spend $436,000 on replacing pumps at the Eagle Valley Golf Course.

The city-owned golf course uses effluent pumped there from the WRRF.

Darren Schulz, director, Public Works, said staff had been out there every week last summer repairing pumps, which are in danger of failing this summer.

Bagwell suggested moving out the replacement a year while the fate of the golf course might be debated.

She made a motion to pass the sewer budget without the 2018 project, but the motion died for lack of a second.

“What’s the downside of delaying?” asked Mayor Bob Crowell.

Schulz said there’s a risk of total failure and then fixing it would take weeks not days, leaving the golf course without water.

The board did vote 4-1 to approve the sewer fund with the pump project included and Bagwell cast the no vote.

The storm water fund was also approved, but a possible user rate hike was not on the agenda and won’t be heard by the supervisors until May.

The Utility Finance Oversight Committee last month met and voted to recommend the board approve an increase in storm water rates phased in over three years.

The proposed rate increase would be a 25 percent hike starting in July, with 35 percent increases in each of the two subsequent years.


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