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At its April 27 meeting, County Commissioners accepted recommendations from the County Manager to balance Washoe County’s budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010, including more than $7 million in operating budget reductions and $1.1 million new revenues.
Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us
Contact: Kelly Mullin
775.328.2068
10-028
April 27, 2010. Reno, Nevada. At its April 27 meeting, County Commissioners accepted recommendations from the County Manager to balance Washoe County’s budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010, including more than $7 million in operating budget reductions and $1.1 million new revenues.

The recommended budget represents the fourth consecutive year that the County has taken aggressive actions to cut budgets as revenues continue to decline. Consolidated taxes, which are primarily sales taxes, have fallen for 35 consecutive months, and even though the economy shows improvement, consolidated taxes are expected to continue to decline by 2.5%, though the declines will not be as dramatic as in previous years. Property tax revenues will also decline by an unprecedented 7%. In total, when the reductions proposed for fiscal year 2010-2011 take effect, Washoe County will have reduced expenditures by more than $125 million in recent years. The budget reduction plans for 2010-2011 include cuts averaging 3% for each of the County’s more than 30 operating departments. The reduction plans include the elimination of another 38 vacant positions and two lay-offs, following the elimination of more than 500 positions over the past three years.

The operating budget reductions are one component of a three-part balanced plan that the Board of County Commissioners approved as a strategy for balancing the budget in these unprecedented times. The other components of the plan involved the use of $5.75 million in reserves, which the Commissioners have already approved, and achieving approximately $11.4 million in labor cost savings, which are currently being negotiated, as required by state law, with employee associations. If the needed labor cost savings are not achieved by July 1, the Commissioners approved a plan for requesting additional reduction plans from operating departments.

With few exceptions, the County Manager endorsed each department’s proposed reductions as presented to the Commission over the last several weeks. Exceptions were made where meeting reduction targets would increase the County’s overall costs and liabilities, including for functions such as criminal defense for indigent persons and guardianship services for those most vulnerable individuals who have been deemed to be wards of the Court.

Commissioners conveyed concerns expressed by the public regarding the possible deterioration of Regional Park facilities such as the May Arboretum and the Great Basin Adventure Park at Rancho San Rafael due to cuts to the Park Department that have totaled 50% over the past several years. Commissioner Bonnie Weber asked for, and received, confirmation that the May Arboretum staff would not be eliminated, but would instead be asked to take on additional duties, including overseeing maintenance at Rancho San Rafael.

Regional Parks and Open Space Director Doug Doolittle stated, “We recognize that the May Arboretum is a treasure, and we intend to keep it that way, despite the cuts that we must make.” At the request of Commissioner Kitty Jung, the staff confirmed that the Great Basin Adventure Park will remain open, with free admission (group rental areas will still have a charge), but the much–loved Log Flume Ride will be closed for the summer.

Other impacts will include approximately $50,000 less in support to local non-profits, elimination of the County’s financial support for the free Sierra Spirit bus downtown, closure of the residential program for juveniles at the McGee Center, reduction in the hours of the Marriage License office, changes to elections and sample ballot printing, extending the useful life of high-use vehicles such as those in the Sheriff’s Office, reductions in technology infrastructure, and many other examples.

These departmental budget plans will be incorporated into the recommended Final Budget for Fiscal Year 2010 / 2011, which will be reviewed by the County Commission in a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 17.