Following the controversial repeal of the ordinance that governed federal funds that had been formed by the Payment Equal to Taxes from Yucca Mountain, Nye County officials recently determined the future of those funds.
In a unanimous vote, Nye County commissioners decided to put the $5,886,500 emergency endowment fund that had been earmarked for various projects into the general fund and move the four remaining funds totaling $12,278,135 into the debt service.
“The money that was moved into the general fund will pay for those already approved projects that we agreed to and the other money that was put into the debt service means that it will be there to pay for the jail,” said Nye County Commission Chairperson Lorinda Wichman.
Additionally, Nye County Comptroller Amy Fanning said officials had already set aside $1,196,896 for capital projects.
Nye County commissioners earlier approved rescission of the ordinance that was enacted in 2000 by the previous board of commissioners for operation of five special revenue funds that included special project, education, PILT, emergency and capital improvement endowments.
The emergency endowment fund balance can’t be merged into the general fund and can only be used for cash flow, while the four funds allocated for debt service will go toward the upgrade of the 911 system and the Nye County Detention Center, the only debt that Nye County currently has, officials said.
Annual interest owed on the Nye County Detention Center bond is $1,270,621, officials previously said. The county also receives a $404,692 subsidy from the IRS which leaves an owed balance of $865,929.
Although the emergency endowment fund will go into the general fund, it will not be distributed among all of the accounts within the general fund. Instead, officials said it will stay in a special classification called “committed funds” which means it can’t be spent to augment the budget.
“This committed money would go into the ending fund balance (of fiscal year 2015) and stay there. It could not be distributed as budget to spend on your normal operating expenses,” Nye County Manager Pam Webster said.
Several Nye County officials and residents criticized the rescission of the ordinance, however officials said that the endowment funds are restricted only by the ordinance and not by NRS or federal law.
“I admire the decision by the previous board of commissioners, (but) they didn’t have the same challenges we have now,” Wichman said.
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at email@example.com. Find her on Twitter: @dariasokolova77.