Carson City board looks at needed capital improvements
The Carson City Board of Supervisors discussed different ways to tackle the city’s gaping capital improvement needs at a board workshop Tuesday.
“Revenue growth has been strong. The problems we have are not unsolvable,” said City Manager Nick Marano summing up the retreat of supervisors and department heads held at Western Nevada College. “We definitely have some options. We’re going to chip away at this problem.”
The board in the next few months will take up the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget as well as capital improvement requests from the city’s departments, which are due to the city’s finance department on Feb. 10 and scheduled to go before the supervisors on April 6.
In 2016-2017, the requests totaled $6.84 million.
Nancy Paulson, chief financial officer, laid out various scenarios for funding capital improvements during a presentation on budget planning.
The capital projects fund is funded with 5 cents of the property tax, which is projected to be $640,000.
The general fund could add $800,000, $1,730,000 or $2,850,000, depending on whether the board decides to maintain an ending fund balance of 8.37 percent, 7 percent or 5.3 percent, respectively.
The consolidated tax distribution, or CTAX, which makes up 40 percent of the general fund, is trending at 8 percent growth and if that holds, would be up $912,000, Paulson said.
Supervisor Lori Bagwell asked if the city would want to deplete its ending fund balance when unpredictable events like the recent storms and flooding can sap cashflow while assistance from the federal government might take years to arrive.
Another option is to issue 10-year bonds secured by the 5 cent property tax, which would raise $2,565,000.
“There’s a thousand shades of gray in all these scenarios,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski.
Streets remain the biggest issue.
Darren Schulz, Public Works director, said it would cost more than $15 million annually just to maintain the city’s 272 miles of roads in their current condition.
Faced with funds that are far less than that, the department is focusing on the arterial roads, or most trafficked streets, and primarily doing less costly surface treatments.
The only major road reconstruction project Public Works has planned in 2017-2018 is a mill and overlay — removing and replacing the top two inches of pavement — on two-tenths of a mile of East College Parkway, between Nye and Sherman lanes.
The day-long workshop also featured other presentations, including an overview of 2017 legislation affecting counties given by Jeff Fontaine, executive director, Nevada Association of Counties.
Assembly Bill 43, for example, would change the formula for property tax, not removing the 3 percent cap, said Fontaine, but putting a floor on it.
“No doubt it’s going to be a challenge,” Fontaine said. “The attitude at the legislature is we’re taxed out.”
Senior Deputy Attorney General Sarah Bradley had a recurring piece of advice for the board and city employees during a presentation on using social media.
“If you have any doubts, don’t post it,” she said.
Marlene Rebori, University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension, talked about different ways to engage the public outside the twice-monthly board meetings.
“Those conventional processes can lead to frustration,” when it’s the only way the public interacts with elected officials, Rebori said.
The group also heard presentations on the city planning process, open meeting law and ethics.