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County OKs hires

Nye County officials approve the filling of several vacant positions across the county during their Aug. 4 meeting.

Among the approved positions were an administrative secretary position in the administration department in Tonopah, account clerk position in the assessor's office in Pahrump, deputy assessor position in the assessor's office in Tonopah and three deputy positions in the Sheriff's Office in Pahrump.

County Commission Chairperson Lorinda Wichman was the only one who voted against filling vacancies.

"I haven't seen any encouraging increase in what we are expecting for revenue," Wichman said.

According to the information provided by Nye County Comptroller Amy Fanning, the projected budget shortfall hasn't shifted since the July 7 meeting. If nothing changes, she said the county will face a 6-percent budget shortfall by the end of the year.

General fund revenues are projected at $32.4 million for fiscal year 2016, down from $32.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, and $33.4 million in fiscal year 2014, due to the continued decrease in property and sales tax revenues. The property tax share for the general fund was projected at $11.7 million for fiscal year 2016, down from the $12.2 million projected last year. The sales tax was projected at $11.1 million, down from the $11.9 million projected for last year.

In July, Nye County officials voted against filling several vacancies across the board, citing the budget woes.

"We are really short on revenue," Wichman said. "We project that by the end of December, we are going to face a 6-percent shortfall."

Deputy positions in the Sheriff's Office won't be filled sooner than Oct.1, while the administrative secretary position in the administrative department will remain vacant until Nov. 9. The deputy assessor position has to be filled on Aug. 24, according to the documents.

Filling each position by the proposed date will satisfy the 90-day waiting period.

Due to the impact from the fiscal year 2016, salaries for each position will be less than what was initially budgeted. For instance, a deputy position in the Sheriff's Office first carried a salary of $106,500 but was reduced to $52,854; a salary for administrative secretary has gone down from $79,748 to $42,492; a salary for deputy assessor was reduced from $62,617 to $45,252.

The savings however could be less if the position is filled in-house, according to the documents.

Wichman said budget projections could change on a daily basis, but noted that the shortfall could possibly trigger layoffs.

"I don't like offering people jobs and then letting people go," she said.

"It's hard to weigh needs of community against caution."

In a written document submitted to the board of commissioners, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said that understaffing left the patrol staff in Nye County "severely" under-supervised and thus created a probable civil liability issue for the Nye County.

"These positions are street patrol positions and and are desperately needed to adequately provide emergency and law enforcement services to the residents in Nye County," Wehrly said in a written statement.

Commissioner Butch Borasky said that if the budget went sideways, employees would have to be laid off.

"I want you to be aware of that, that it could happen," he told Wehrly.

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