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County facing new $1.8 million shortfall

Nye County Manager Pam Webster warned county commissioners Tuesday they could be facing a major budget shortfall by June 30 when the fiscal year ends.

“We’re still in the process of evaluating two key elements of the revenue, which is personal property tax and sales tax,” Webster said. “We still have only two months of sales tax income to evaluate, it’s hard to do a trend. We could have a $1 million to $1.8 million revenue shortfall in addition to the $800,000 shortfall we had when we balanced the budget.”

Webster, who didn’t have a report to present to the commission, said she will have more details by the Dec. 16 commission meeting.

Commissioner Donna Cox pressed Webster about whether the shortfall will mean future layoffs or early retirement buyouts. Webster said there wouldn’t be any more buyouts.

“We would be looking at a reduction in expenditures equal to the revenue reduction that would have to be accomplished between now and June,” Webster said. “However we do that, but it would have to match a revenue reduction for that shortfall.”

When Cox asked again about layoffs, Webster said, “yes, that could be part of the combination of actions that could be taken.”

County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said he was hopeful the county could get $3 million from the federal government for the Yucca Mountain project after Jan. 1 when a new GOP-led Congress takes over. But Commissioner Frank Carbone wasn’t that optimistic.

County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman asked about Payment in Lieu of Taxes, Webster said that PILT money from the federal government was included in her calculations.

While layoffs could be in the county’s future, commissioners approved the filling of four more open positions funded under the current budget. The positions are a sheriff’s deputy in detention, a sergeant, a deputy clerk and a court bailiff.

The county has $45,297 in the budget for the deputy position, which will require $35,859 for the rest of this fiscal year. The county allocated $67,274 for the sergeant, that will also take $35,589 to fill the rest of the fiscal year, a savings of $71,701. The bailiff will cost $30,833 of a budgeted $34,649 this year, the deputy clerk position will cost slightly more than the county budgeted, $25,334.

A list of all the positions authorized to be filled since July 15, estimated the county will save a combined $326,830 from the former cost of their employees.

Last month, commissioners approved hiring a deputy for the DARE program in Pahrump, which would only require $42,991 of the $81,068 budget.

The sheriff got approval in October to hire two deputies in Tonopah with proceeds from the half-cent sales tax increase, one of them was authorized in November for $42,991. Another sheriff’s deputy will be replaced who is filling a vacancy at Mercury, the staff recommendation was to fill it after the accrual payouts were absorbed into the budget. A vacant deputy justice court clerk position will be used to fund two data clerks for the justice court, that will require a $48,694 budget for the remainder of the year, an increase over the $41,587 budgeted, the difference will be absorbed in the justice court collection fees.

The county will use the salary of a vacant purchasing technician to fund a new budget technician to replace Amy Fanning, the new comptroller, in another action authorized last month.

Other new positions authorized since the start of the fiscal year July 1 include two sheriff’s dispatchers, a deputy treasurer, deputy recorder, fiscal analyst, fleet driver, data collector, executive legal secretary and two more deputies.

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