The bar has been raised
March 21, 2002
Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko recently described the city public safety dispatch center as “an iceberg that seems to be exposed to me one spoonful at a time.”
In those few words Masayko gave sage advice to Sheriff Rod Banister and others requesting increases in spending at a time when the city can afford so little.
We’ve never met a government agency — public safety or otherwise — that believed it had all the resources it needed. They, like private business, strive to improve services and to keep up with changes in the market. There is a never-ending gap between what we have and what we could have if we had all the money we wanted.
The city faces an increasingly competitive environment for sales tax dollars. The most pessimistic view is that Douglas County will nab all the new retail while Carson City is faced with paying for the significant public service (police, fire, library, streets, schools) infrastructure that was built during the time when it had more than its share of the retail sales.
Carson City began a strategic planning process we hope will guide it toward some solutions and some vision.
The current money crunch at City Hall may not be short term. It may not improve with the economy. Supervisors are prudent to question every request for increases, particularly things like salaries and others nearly impossible to reduce again once they are approved.
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The sheriff and others should understand that if they request increases, they’d better do their homework. They’d better have the track record and credibility needed by the supervisors for their approval. They need to understand the big picture facing the city and buy into the reality of it.
Finally, they need to heed Masayko’s advice and reveal the whole iceberg. Supervisors and residents can buy into the increases only if they are totally justified and if they completely understand the need. The bar is raised on the need for justification and explanation.
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