Just like the opening day of baseball signaling that Spring is around the corner, so too is the start of departmental budget presentations by Washoe County Department Heads and Elected Officials.
Every budget season departments are allotted ten minutes to present an overview of their proposed budgets for the coming fiscal year which begins on July 1st. Presentations for the 2011-12 proposed departmental budgets will be held on the first, second and third Mondays in April. Each public meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Washoe County Commission Chambers, and will televised live on The Washoe Channel TV-217 as well as live web streamed at www.washoecounty.us Each presentation will be posted separately within one or two days for easy video-on-demand viewing off the County’s website. Below is a list of which departments will be presenting on which days in the order of their appearance.
April 4th: Health, Public Guardian, Public Administrator, Building & Safety, Community Development, Social Services, Senior Services, Library, Regional Parks & Open Space, Public Works, Water Resources, technology Services, Finance, County Manager
April 11th: Clerk, Registrar of Voters, Recorder, Assessor, Treasurer, Human Resources
April 18th: Incline Constable, Alternative Public Defender, Public Defender, Alternative Sentencing, Conflict Counsel, District Attorney, Reno/Sparks/Incline Justice Court, District Court/Law Library, Juvenile Services, Medical Examiner/Coroner, Sheriff
The budget overview presentations are made before the County Commissioners who can ask questions of the department heads, as well as receive public comment on the proposed budgets. The budget presentations presented next week will reflect the 1.7%, 2% and 3.7% operating budget reductions requested by the Board in January. Additional reductions may need to be considered if the 2011 Legislature approves the Governor’s proposed state budget which would retain 9 cents of local property tax from counties which was originally diverted by the 2009 Legislature but set to sunset June 30, 2011. Washoe County has forecast that if the diversion extension is approved along with some state services transferred to counties as proposed, the annual impact on the County’s budget would be an additional $25 million per year. This would bring the forecasted $33.5 million budget deficit for 2011-12 to $58.5 million, requiring much deeper cuts that would cripple county services or even eliminate some county services to local citizens.
Washoe County was one of the first Nevada governments to begin cutting its annual budget in response to declining property tax and sales tax revenues resulting from the prolonged recession. In the past four years, the County has reduced its spending by $123 million with a combination of operating budget reductions, voluntary wage and benefit reductions from its nine employee unions, strategic use of one-time fund balances, early separation incentives and layoffs. The County’s workforce is currently 16% less than just a couple years ago, while many county departments have actually experienced increased demand for their services.