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Pahrump tentative budget addressed – allows for $2 million in capital improvements

The Nye County Commission, sitting as the governing body for the town of Pahrump, recently approved the town’s tentative budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2020.

Total available monetary resources for the town general fund were budgeted at $7.8 million. Of this amount, $2.7 million is marked as carry-over from the current fiscal year while revenues for fiscal year 2020 were projected at $5.1 million.

Calculated against the total budgeted expenditures, including a $1.2 million transfer from the general fund to the capital projects fund, the town’s general fund was projected to see an ending fund balance of just $518,000 at the completion of fiscal year 2020.

Certain Nye County commissioners appeared slightly troubled by the low-end fund balance projection. However, at the same time, some expressed their belief that money should not be “hoarded” and that the taxpayers’ dollars should be spent to satisfy the public’s desire for town improvements.

“All I see is, the ending fund balance goes down, down, down. There were several million dollars in the town of Pahrump and now I’ve got what, (a projection of) $500,000?” Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo questioned.

Nye County Comptroller Savannah Rucker, who presented the town’s tentative budget, said the main driver of that decrease in ending fund balance was capital improvements. Nye County Commission chairman John Koenig added that a large chunk of the funding allocated for the coming fiscal year’s capital improvements projects had already approved.

Commissioner Donna Cox noted, “I’m not real fond of the ending fund balance but I am not really afraid of it either because we’ve managed to get those improvements, we’ve managed to still pay the bills and pay the employees and the benefits and the public has what they want on top of everything else. It may be time to tighten the belt a little bit but we bring in that money because we are supposed to put in back out, not because we are supposed to bank it.”

Koenig concurred with that thought, remarking, “This is what we are supposed to be doing with the money. We’re not supposed to be banking the money necessarily, we’re supposed to be doing things so that the community can enjoy what they are paying for.”

Rucker explained the projected ending fund balance would be a “worst case scenario” and would only be realized if all of the money budgeted was actually spent.

Outside of salaries and benefits which come it at a projected cost of $3.3 million, the town’s biggest allocation is to capital improvements. With an array of projects already approved in prior years, over $2 million in funding has been budgeted for capital expenditures.

Rucker noted that the town had not been spending very much funding on capital improvements in previous years and it seemed high time to do so. In fact, in the years 2010 to 2016, the town had spent on average just $75,000 per year on capital improvements.

Since 2017, the county commission has ramped up these type of projects, spending just over $1 million in 2017, $2 million in 2018 and $1.2 million in the current fiscal year. Improvements of note that were completed in the past two years include new lighting for the fields at Petrack Park, Ian Deutch Memorial Park and Simkins Park and shade structures for the playground areas at both Petrack and Ian Deutch parks, among other improvements.

The final budget for the town of Pahrump for fiscal year 2020 will come before the commission for approval at its final budget meeting on May 29.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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