Storey County officials say they’re ready to go it alone financially
Appeal Staff Writer
Storey County officials say the county no longer needs state assistance in solving past financial problems.
The county commission this week passed a resolution to request the state discontinue the technical financial assistance it asked for in 2003.
County Manager Pat Whitten said the county’s general fund balance was in the red that year by more than $100,000.
The county didn’t have a county manager or budget administrator, and its finances were handled through three separate offices, Whitten said.
“If you look at the financial stresses, roll back the clock to 2003,” he said. “We were 12 to 18 months or so out of 9/11, and things at the industrial park had not progressed, and we were caught in a revenue shortfall.”
Whitten, who was hired as the director of administration and budget in 2005, said tourism took a hit as well after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, adding to the county’s woes.
“You see other counties facing similar challenges today,” he said. “What they did was help guide us and counsel us on several things we were implementing, such as hiring freezes, cost controls. There were some very strict controls that to this day we still have.”
Terry Rubald, chief of the division of assessment standards for the Nevada Department of Taxation said that the Council on Local Government Finance approved ending the technical financial assistance April 2, and the county’s resolution will now go to the Nevada Tax Commission to finalize the end of assistance.
“There might have been a red flag or two (in 2003), and those have all been corrected,” she said.
Rubald said it was not unusual for a smaller government entity to seek assistance from the state.
“It is a service of the state to assist the county in overseeing its finances,” she said, adding that White Pine County was in the severe financial emergency category and getting help from the department.
She said it was more common for school districts, hospital districts and cities to need help.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.
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