Public gets look at Carson City budget
Carson City officials hosted the inaugural budget open house Monday to give residents a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns about city spending.
“We are very interested in hearing what you have to say,” Mayor Bob Crowell told the gathering at the first session from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Carson City Community Center.
Crowell said the public’s comments would be shared with the Board of Supervisors, who review the budget Thursday and then vote to adopt a final plan May 19.
Only two or three people from the public, not counting several candidates for local office, attended each session at noon and 5:30 p.m.
“I’m glad to see this is happening. My concern is that we’re getting value what we’re spending,” said Carson City resident Fred Voltz, who went to the noon event. “I’m always concerned about increases in public spending when the public’s income or Social Security isn’t increasing.”
Resident Abby Johnson attended the evening session and spent time at the booth set up by the library.
“I’d like a new library please,” said Carson City resident Abby Johnson, after the 5:30 p.m. presentation. “I think a public library is as important to a community as is public safety.”
At the open houses, Nancy Paulson, chief financial officer, presented an overview of the proposed budget and managers from public works, public safety and other city departments were available to talk about their divisions.
The revenue for fiscal year 2017, starting in July, is projected to be $138.2 million, which includes money from charges for services, property and other taxes, licenses and permits and fines and forfeits.
Total expenditures are estimated to be $136.7 million, which is an increase of less than 1 percent from 2016 spending of $135.6 million.
Total general fund money, the city’s main operating budget, is expected to increase 1.1 percent to about $75 million. Revenue for that fund comes from the consolidated tax, which is projected to rise 4 percent to $25.6 million; property tax and licenses and permits, which are expected to go up 1 percent; and charges for services, which are projected to drop by 0.8 percent.
The property tax rate is being maintained at $3.52 per $100 of assessed value, the same as in 2016.
Property and consolidated taxes account for 71 percent of general fund revenue.
Nearly half, or $37 million, of the general fund is budgeted for public safety, including fire and sheriff.
General government, which includes offices such as the assessor, is slated to receive $29.5 million from the general fund.
Overall, and by category, 75 percent of the fund’s spending is on salaries and benefits, with the remainder for services and supplies.
The number of full time equivalent employees dropped by 81 since 2007 with only minor increases since fiscal year 2011, said Paulson, and is now 428 employees.
The city has a total of 33 funds, including 18 special revenue funds.
One example is the Quality of Life Fund, from which the multi-purpose athletic center was financed.
In 2017, that $2.6 million fund will spend $239,315 to fix the aquatic facility roof.
The Street Maintenance Fund, funded by 5.35 cents per gallon of the state fuel tax, 1 cent of county option fuel tax and .25 percent of sales tax, is projected to be $4.4 million.
Additional funds include the six Enterprise Funds for ambulance, sewer, water, cemetery, building and storm drainage.
Chris Carver and Jerry Cinani, running for Carson City mayor, attended, as did John Barrette and Maurice White, who are running for city supervisor. Jim Shirk, incumbent Ward 4 supervisor, and Brad Bonkowski, incumbent Ward 2 supervisor, also attended.
Despite the low turnout, Nick Marano, city manager, said the inaugural open house was worthwhile.
“It gives us an opportunity to do public outreach. The more information we can put out there the better,” he said.
The information presented at the open house is available online at carson.org, Marano said.
The Carson City Board of Supervisors meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center. The budget is scheduled for when the board returns after lunch at 1:30 p.m.