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Nye edges towards state financial monitoring

CARSON CITY — A state oversight board Tuesday recommended Nye County be placed under state monitoring because of its struggling financial situation.

The recommendation by the Committee on Local Government Finance to put the county on a “fiscal watch” is a preliminary step that could allow the county to seek technical assistance from the state to try to turn its tide of red ink.

Deonne Contine, director of the state Department of Taxation, will have final say on whether to officially place the county on the watch list.

“They have several problems,” Marvin Leavitt, chairman of the committee, said of Nye County’s finances.

Those problems were outlined in a memo from the state taxation agency, which said the county was in violation of statutes, including overspending from appropriated amounts and inappropriate use of restricted funds.

Nye County, the memo said, has “serious internal control problems.”

A presentation from county officials showed plummeting property tax revenues since the recession are a big factor in the county’s finances.

Assessed valuation has fallen by $588 million since its peak of $1.9 billion in 2010 to the present. Likewise, revenue from property taxes has dropped $4.4 million during that time. At a 3 percent growth rate, officials project the county won’t reach the 2010 property tax revenue level until 2026.

Nye County’s $31.6 million general fund revenue for fiscal year 2015 marked a $3.8 million drop from six years earlier.

Since the recession, the county has eliminated 82 positions, implemented a hiring freeze and stopped other services such as the animal shelter, senior nutrition programs and closing some health clinics for a savings of $2.2 million, the presentation said.

Still, projections suggest the county faces an ending fund operating shortfall of $2.2 million, roughly 7 percent, in 2017.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb.

 

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