weather icon Clear

Budget funding continues to decline

Nye County continues to try to cut costs and lower overhead as taxes and other revenues continue to gradually decline while the cost of doing business increases.

The preliminary $76.2 million budget for fiscal year 2016 submitted to the state last week shows a $13.9 million budget increase driven by a projected $8.7 million increase in general government spending, a $3.7 million spending increase in public works, and a $2.1 million increase in Sheriff’s Office spending.

The total budget includes proprietary funds and other government revenues such as gas taxes.

County Commissioners will meet May 18 at 9 a.m. in Pahrump to approve the final budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

A special teleconference meeting with County Commissioners scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the preliminary budget was canceled, and will be part of the regular commission meeting May 5.

The largest share of the budget is the $30.8 million in general fund expenditures, down from $32.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, and $33.4 million in fiscal year 2014. The general fund pays for the county’s day-to-day operations and activities not covered by proprietary funds or special revenue, such as grants and special taxes.

Salary and benefits makeup 77.7 percent of the projected general fund budget at $23.9 million, an approximately $1 million decrease from the last budget.

The general fund is mostly financed by property taxes, sales tax, business licenses, franchise fees and county fees. About 39 percent of the general fund budget is for public safety, including police and fire.

The property tax share for the general fund is projected at $11.7 million for fiscal year 2016, down from the $12.2 million projected last year. The sales tax is projected at $11.1 million, down from the $11.9 million projected for last year.

The city’s general fund ending balance is projected to be $258,347, less than 1 percent of the fund’s budgeted revenues, down from a beginning fund budget of $264,501.

While the majority of county salaries and benefits are paid out of the general fund, an additional $7.3 million in additional county government salary and benefits are projected to be paid out of other funds, including fuel and sales taxes.

County Manager Pam Webster said in March the county was facing a $2.5 million shortfall, driven by lower-than-projected property and consolidated taxes, to end this fiscal year, and as much as a $3.2 million shortfall for the next budget cycle.

County manager’s office has met with various departments since the County Commission meeting on March 3 recommending cuts to senior nutrition, animal shelters, juvenile probation, pay reductions and furloughs to help address projected shortfalls.

Webster told the commission April 21 that “things are in various stages of reaction” regarding those meetings, including notices to employees and meetings with the collective bargaining units.

Webster said the sheriff’s department has done a fairly extensive reorganization since Sheriff Sharon Wehrly took office in January, that the reorganization is in various stages of implementation.

Cut from the Sheriff’s budget in March was $800,000 from the operation of the Tonopah jail, as well as other department cuts.

The overall county budget is down from $125.5 million in fiscal year 2010, when the general fund budget was $36.7 million.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
IN SEASON: Okra, a southern favorite for your western garden

Okra may be considered a staple crop in the American South, but it also grows very well in our hot dry climate. As a member of the mallow family, it puts on a stunning display of delicate yellow flowers.

Special legislative session scheduled to open Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday issued the formal proclamation to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session beginning 9 a.m. Friday, July 31 to address significant policy issues that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled legislative session. This will be the 32nd special session in Nevada’s history.

Report chronicles massive decline in fish populations

With hydroelectric power, overfishing, climate change and pollution on the rise, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted by 76% on average since 1970, according to the first comprehensive global report on the status of freshwater migratory fish issued this week by the World Fish Migration Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

AngloGold Ashanti gains exploration project permit

The administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection has decided to issue a reclamation permit for an exploration project to AngloGold Ashanti North America.

Immunizations remain required part of back-to-school routines

As parents continue to navigate what back to school looks like this year, one aspect of the ritual that hasn’t changed is making sure kids are up to date on their vaccines. Whether families choose in-person, hybrid or distance learning models for the fall 2020 school session, Nevada law requires immunizations for child care, school and university entry, with the exception of religious exemptions or a medical condition.

DMV will offer renewals online, by mail this fall

Nevada motorists who have been unable to make an appointment at DMV offices before their expiration date will benefit from two new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nye County Civics Center proposal presented

In 2016, when Valley Electric Association was aiming to sell a 200-kilovolt transmission line and needed a vote of approval by its members in order to do so, one of the selling points for that sale was the promise that if it went through, VEA would donate $5 million toward the construction of a new community center. It may have taken nearly three years after the transmission sale was executed but VEA did finally make good on that promise, offering the $5 million donation to Nye County, with the Nye County Commission voting to accept it in September 2019.

NCSD superintendent lays out school reopening plans

Earlier this month, the Nye County School District Board of Trustees approved the district’s COVID-19 re-entry plan, which laid out three models for returning students and staff to school safely.

Pahrump elementary schools to observe hybrid education model

With less than a month left before youth across Nye County are scheduled to begin the new school year, the Nye County School District has announced a change in its school re-entry plans, switching Pahrump area K-5 schools from the originally selected 100% in-person education model to the hybrid model that requires students to conduct their learning online three days out of the five-day school week.