Ordinance to raise franchise fees comes to supervisors | NevadaAppeal.com
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Ordinance to raise franchise fees comes to supervisors

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

The Board of Supervisors will consider a fee hike to offset a budget shortfall and boost law enforcement and prosecution capabilities – especially anti-methamphetamine efforts.

Carson City Manager Linda Ritter recommended in May that the supervisors raise the city’s utility franchise fee by 1 percent when the budget was approved.

“This is not new information,” she said. “This is the ordinance the board has to approve to allow for the fee to be imposed.”

The ordinance change will be introduced during the supervisor’s meeting on Thursday and would come back for a final vote on July 19. The increases, if approved, would take effect Aug. 1, Ritter said.

Franchise fees now are 3.5 percent for natural gas and 2.5 percent for electricity. The increases would bring them up to 4.5 and 3.5 percent each, respectively.

Annually, the 1-percent increases in each fee would result in an estimated gain of $1.02 million. The budget shortfall is roughly $600,000; the rest of the money would be used for the additional law-related expenses, Ritter said.

It’s a solution that would spread the monetary burden throughout the community and not target any segment because virtually everyone has utility bills, she said.

Franchise fees are added to the utility charges and make up a total bill. A 2.5 percent franchise fee added to a $100 electric bill would result in a $102.50 cost, for example.

Two more sheriff’s deputies to fight drug-related crimes and a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office to take the cases through court are being sought. Adding two new members to the nine-member Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team would cost $172,119. An extra criminal prosecutor would bring the total to eight – including Neil Rombardo, district attorney. Cost would be $91,800.

The supervisors also want to provide $100,000 to Partnership Carson City, a group that focuses on halting the use of methamphetamine in the community.

Ritter sent out letters describing the proposed increase to the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce, Builders Association of Western Nevada and the utility companies, Sierra Pacific Power Co. and Southwest Gas Corp.

“No objections were received,” Ritter said.

The total city operating budget for this fiscal year, which began Sunday, will be an estimated $117.6 million – with the added expenses.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE:

Sierra Room of the Carson City

Community Center, 851 E. William St.