Child welfare, Yucca funding approved | NevadaAppeal.com

Child welfare, Yucca funding approved

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved the contracts that fund child and family services in Clark and Washoe counties.

The two counties took over those programs several years ago on the condition the state continue to fund the cost. Under the program, Clark and Washoe provide child welfare, foster care and related services for their areas.

Gov. Jim Gibbons last month agreed to put child welfare funding on the list of programs that will be spared any budget cuts, so the contract amounts are for the full budgets in each county.

The Washoe contract totals $48.5 million over the coming two years. The Clark County contract totals $124.7 million.

Gibbons questioned why the state general fund was covering 59 percent of the totals while the federal share was just 32 percent. The Division of Child and Family Services was directed to provide an analysis and possibly ways to increase the federal share of the budgets.

The board, consisting of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, also approved $1.5 million to keep Nevada’s fight to block the opening of Yucca Mountain going.

Nuclear Projects Office Director Bob Loux said the money is needed to continue paying scientists and lawyers preparing Nevada’s opposition to the Department of Energy’s attempt to license and open the nuclear dump located just 75 miles north of Las Vegas.

He said the funding is necessary because the federal budget – which includes $5 million for Nevada to prepare its side of the case – is stalled in Congress.

He and Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said they don’t anticipate receiving the federal money until April or May. Loux said the energy department is planning to file its application to license Yucca Mountain in June.

Loux said Nevada has to continue work on the issues raised by the Department of Energy so it is prepared to respond to the application.

Unfortunately, he said, Nevada can’t reclaim the $1.5 million from the federal funding when it arrives. But he said there will be $1.5 million in federal money left in his budget at year’s end that can carry over to next year.

The expenditure from the contingency fund must still be approved by the Interim Finance Committee.

In addition, the board approved a contract with the Pacific World History Institute for $1.2 million to monitor impacts in the Yucca Mountain Impact Report. Most of the money comes from the highway fund.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.