Storey allows budget increases in anticipation of future needs
Appeal Staff Writer
VIRGINIA CITY – The final budget for Storey County will be a bit larger than planned as commissioners prepare for what they see as future challenges.
Storey County commissioners approved the budget with the changes Monday.
Funds for a full-time assistant district attorney were added, where originally only a part-time assistant district attorney was expected.
County Manager Pat Whitten said the county was also budgeting more for public defender duties.
Both will be needed, as caseloads have increased due to higher arrest rates by the sheriff’s department.
“It’s critical and imperative that we have an assistant district attorney,” Sheriff Jim Miller said. “The caseload is not going to decrease.”
Miller suggested the commissioners choose the attorney in conjunction with Whitten and District Attorney Harold Swafford, and the person hired focus on criminal cases so that Swafford can focus on civil issues.
Justice of the Peace Annette Daniels concurred, saying there have already been 550 cases in traffic court so far this year.
“That’s what we used to do in a year,” she said.
Also a full-time planner and possibly a part-time planner will be added to the budget.
With three new developments in the pipeline, Whitten and Building Director Dean Haymore thought it best to hire a planning expert to take a look at the master plan, in addition to working with the proposed projects.
“There is not an NRS – it’s a suggestion – that we look at the master plan and where we want the county to go,” he said.
Whitten also said he put in enough for a planner to attract one with some experience.
“It’s our strong recommendation to get a strong planner,” Whitten said. “Someone who can say, ‘been there, done that.'”
Though the request was only for one, Commissioner Greg “Bum” Hess suggested funding a part-time planner position so the new planner can hire an assistant if necessary.
The county will also alter the fire department structure to have two division chiefs and three battalion chiefs, lowering the number of captains to three.
“It will improve the organization and management and gives upward mobility for captains,” Whitten said.
Whitten also said it is imperative to build a fire station at Tahoe Reno Industrial Park, the staff for which has already been budgeted.
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