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RTC faces $235,000 budget shortfall

The Nye County Regional Transportation Commission passed a 2014-15 fiscal year budget Tuesday, which Public Works Director Dave Fanning said had $235,000 shortfalls he can’t account for in both the quarter-cent sales tax and four cent gas tax fund.

Fanning told the RTC in discussions with Stretch Baker, the Tonopah road supervisor, and Tim Carlo, the Pahrump supervisor, they talked about bare necessities for funding with the $1.014 million sales tax and $838,048 gas tax budget.

Much of the road department budget will just go to gravel road maintenance, $600,000 from the gas tax and $350,000 from the quarter-cent sales tax. The quarter-cent budget includes $250,000 for cold mix crack sealing and intersection improvements for regional roads. Intersection safety improvements were budgeted at $82,378. Fanning said after previous work the improvements aren’t as critical in Pahrump Valley any more.

The rest of the four-cent gas money goes for the lease with Valley Electric Association for street lighting, with six additional street lights on Homestead Road near Elderberry Street, running that annual bill up to $31,047, while a maintenance contract for traffic signals will cost $4,000 more, or $24,200. Striping of major roads is another $57,408, street patching of major roads was increased to $66,498 due to increased traffic. Engineering and administration is $58,895, which Fanning said represents 9 percent of employee time billed back into the budget.

RTC member Cameron McRae inquired why sales tax revenues would be down, when taxable sales have risen in the county. Fanning didn’t have an answer and County Comptroller Susan Paprocki submitted her resignation the day before the meeting. Fanning added information from the state showed fuel taxes received by Nye County were down, though fuel sales went up.

“We are showing that the fuel taxes and everything in the sales are up, why we’re getting less I haven’t verified that yet. But we plan on working through this process to try to find out,” Fanning told the board.

“If the price is up and the gallonage is up, our collections should be up, not down,” McRae said.

County Commissioner Frank Carbone asked about the town of Pahrump’s gas tax, when the county takes over in January. McRae said that’s not in the upcoming RTC budget. In Round Mountain, the town takes care of its own roads, McRae said, in Pahrump there wasn’t enough gas tax collected in the past for the town to do it independently. Fanning said the Round Mountain Gold Mine provides a lot of gas tax revenue for that community.

Fanning said the budget for the gas tax has to again go before Nye County Commissioners for approval, but the RTC has final authority to spend the quarter-cent tax.

The annual chip sealing program this year is being funded mostly by Payment Equal to Taxes from the Yucca Mountain program.

A note from the public works director states every $1 not spent to maintain roads will require at least $4 to repair them.

County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen asked about using county money for the proposed roundabouts, $450,000 for each one on Highway 372, instead for improvements on Homestead Road between Manse and Gamebird roads. Fanning said Schinhofen would have to talk to the Pahrump Capital Improvements Plan Advisory Committee, which decides how to spend impact fee money. Fanning said he wants to talk to the CIP board as well about allocating $200,000 for a road study by Reno engineering firm Lumos and Associates.

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