DA’s office to shift child support case management to state
Appeal Staff Writer
The Carson City District Attorney’s office soon will no longer enforce child support payment cases – a move expected to save the department more than $90,000 a year.
Nevada Health and Human Services will begin doing this for the city.
“I see a problem with the current situation,” said District Attorney Neil Rombardo. “Only about 28 percent of the cases are for children living in Carson City.”
People involved in cases will receive written information about whom they should contact at the state before this change occurs. The shift will be gradual, beginning next month. It should be complete by early December.
Carson City handles roughly 2,500 child support payment cases each year. This is just 2.4 percent of cases in the state. Clark County has 71 percent; Washoe County has 12 percent.
Nevada ranks in the bottom 10 percent nationally when compared to other states for such matters as establishing paternity and collecting support payments.
In 2005, it was recommended to Nevada legislators the state take over enforcement from local district attorneys to reduce costs and redundancy while providing accountability.
The state already handles this function for six other counties, including Storey and Eureka. Douglas County has given over some of its cases to the state as well. Carson will be the largest population customer, however, Rombardo said.
Total savings will be at least $214,000 a year in employee costs, Rombardo said. That savings will allow the addition of an employee who would serve as a victim advocate and witness assistant.
“We have to have this position,” Rombardo said of the advocate, because it would increase the number of cases prosecuted. “It’s a critical need.”
The change would also free up a part-time child support case investigator to handle risk management, he said.
The office will continue prosecuting child support cases, however, Rombardo emphasized.
Part of this savings will aid the city’s current overall budget condition.
The latest forecast indicates the fiscal year could end up about $419,000 in the black. About $52,000 of that total would come from this change at the district attorney’s office, said City Manager Linda Ritter.
In July, when the fiscal year began, there was a deficit of nearly $600,000.
Projections are revised monthly as the situation changes, such as whether jobs vacated are filled and if the monthly sales tax reports from the state are good or bad, she said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Heard about the Carson City Arts & Culture Coalition. The coalition supports the city’s arts and culture groups, and makes residents and visitors aware of these offerings. The coalition also recommends the city form a commission to advise the supervisors about these matters. A city commission would allow the city to apply for arts-oriented grants. The coalition will host an open house Oct. 18 by showing a free movie in connection to The Big Read, “Fahrenheit 451” at Galaxy Theatre. The group’s Web site is Carsoncityarts.com.
• Approved the tentative application for Nye Circle, a planned-unit development in the 3800 block of East Nye Lane that would offer 34 manufactured homes.
• Decided to begin contract negotiations with the incoming internal auditor, Sue Johnson, who is leaving her job as the city’s finance director to assume this new responsibility. An audit committee will be formed to determine what operations and budget matters should be examined. Her top priorities are how the city pays into the Public Employees Retirement System – a state audit turned up issues with call-back hours – and the city’s disappointing payroll computer system.