Washoe County Estimates Impact of Proposed State Budget will be $11 to $12 Million Annually Based on Current Information

Washoe County staff has reviewed the proposed State budget agreed to this week by the Legislature and the Governor, and are estimating the impact to Washoe County will be approximately $11-$12 million per year over the next biennium. The amount is based on the fiscal impact of state services pushed down to Washoe County, reduction in state funding to programs, or assessments for services provided by the state as known at this time.

County officials are extremely pleased that the revised proposed state budget does not include the continuance of the full 9 cents of local property tax diversion to the State by the 2009 Legislature, a change made in response to the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision issued last week. The economic impact of that diversion alone would have been $10.8 million each year, or $21.6 million over the biennium. Three cents of local property tax intended for road projects in Clark and Washoe Counties will still be passed through to the State as directed by the 2007 Legislature.

The new proposed state budget, however, still includes some of the “push-downs” that were in the Governor’s original budget proposal that will have a fiscal impact upon Washoe County of approximately $11-$12 million each year over the next two years. “Push-downs” refer to services previously funded by the state which are now mandated that the counties provide without funding sources, an assessment by the state for a service provided by the state, or elimination of state funding to support a county program. New programs or services which the county will be required to assume from the state or no longer receive funding for are in the areas of child welfare, adult services, health services, juvenile justice and district court. The specific programs and their estimated fiscal impact costs are as follows (note: estimated costs will vary by year; figure given is an appropriate amount):

Social Services
Developmental Services for Children
$1.6 million
Conversion of State funding for child welfare program to Block Grant that includes incentive funding
$1.1 million
TANF Emergency Assistance (child welfare)
Adult Svs – Indigent Accident & Supplemental Funds
$3.0 million
Medical Assistance to the Aged, Blind and Disabled and Medicaid Waiver Costs
$1.5 million
Health Services
Consumer Health Protection
Medical Care related to TB program
Juvenile Justice
Elimination of Community Block Grant to Local Jurisdictions
Youth Parole and Probation Assessment to the County
District Court
Pre-sentence Investigators from State Parole and Probation State Assessment to the County
Capital Facilities Tax
Continuation of 3 cents of property tax intended for road projects in Clark and Washoe County
$2.1 million

With their recently approved budget, Washoe County has cut its spending by $154 million over the last five years bringing current spending to 2005 levels and 2004 staffing levels. For the 2011-12 fiscal year alone, County Commissioners met a $31.3 million deficit through department budget cuts, employee wage and benefit concessions (still being negotiated), one-time use of fund reserves, and permanent reductions in operating costs. While the final impact may be less than the $25 million which the County could have had to absorb, a fiscal impact of $11-$12 million may still result in some level of additional reductions to the County budget for next year.

The County has 30 days from the close of the Legislative session to amend its 2011-12 budget to reflect any legislatively imposed impacts. It is also important to note that until the 2011 Legislative session is concluded and the Governor signs off on the budget, the current estimated fiscal impact upon the County can change.