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Counties looking to share grant writer

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

There’s money to be had, and some regional cooperation might go a long way toward catching it.

Officials from Carson City and Douglas and Lyon counties are putting together a proposal for a grant writer to be funded and shared among the three counties.

Carson City Manager John Berkich said city officials have long wanted to create a grant writer position but lacked the funding to do so.

Douglas County Manager Dan Holler and Lyon County Manger Steve Snyder echo the same wish.

“I’m not sure Lyon County could justify one grant writer by itself,” Snyder said.

Holler said when comparing a grant writer to a planner or a police officer, the position falls quickly to the bottom of the list.

Snyder added that while Lyon’s budget is subsidized up to $2 million by grants, it’s been a piecemeal effort of different county departments working to augment their own budgets.

Carson collects about $4.4 million in state and federal grants, and Douglas collects around $1.5 million a year. The grants generally subsidize law enforcement, parks and social services.

“There are a fair amount of grants out there we don’t go after because we don’t have a person to go after them,” Holler said. “We’re all going after the same money, the same grants. if you have one person looking at it, we have enough cooperation that it makes more sense on behalf of all three agencies to compete that way.”

Berkich said the federal government is planning to spend billions for homeland security.

“Often times we’re competing for the same dollars,” Berkich said. “What we’re reading with homeland security is they’re looking for regional cooperation. There is an unlimited scope of possibilities.”

The trio of counties has put a proposal on the street to see if there is interest from a grant writer who Berkich said could be paid up to $70,000, the cost split by the counties based on a population percentage.

Holler said one writer serving all three counties wouldn’t present a conflict of interest because the grants each county qualifies for are different plus there is the possibility to seek grants that could be used in regional efforts similar to the one that helped create the Western Nevada Regional Youth Center.