Commission IS held accountable

Walt Grudzinski holds himself out to be a budget expert. (He made this same claim when he ran for County Commission too, but the people gave him less than 15 percent of their support in the primary election).

He has shown again how little he understands this county’s budget (Community Viewpoint, Aug. 28) and so I will respond to set the record straight.

Yes, the majority of our budget is salaries and benefits as it takes people to provide the services the people of this county need. You need people to man the counters in all the public offices and people to run the equipment, like road graders and trucks. Sheriff’s deputies, courts, jails, landfills are just some of the things the county provides and these take people so hence the salaries and benefits.

One of his examples is what he calls the “administrator’s office.” From what he said, he means “administration.” The Public Administrator is not a budgeted office as it funds itself from the funds brought in by them (They deal with people who have died with no will or living relatives for the most part).

Administration actually covers the county manager, assistant county manager, the five commissioners and staff in those offices. The services and supply portion deals with buying ink, paper and any outside vendors that help these offices supply services. The services supplied to you and me are done by people which requires paying them salaries and benefits. (As a side note the commissioners get about 26K a year each in salaries).

As to the assistant county manager, that position was filled by a 5-0 vote of the board and I voted for Ms. Eastley mostly because we were doing away with our state lobbyist and she knew all the players at the state capital and has always been on top of all legislative issues. So during legislative years she spends a great deal of her time dealing with that and on even years is busy running the central/northern part of the county and employees and offices up there. I had been asking for years to change the requirements so this was not done just to accommodate her (I would rather have someone that has done a job than someone who has a degree but no experience).

The shortfall we are facing was put on us from the state as the figures they gave us for revenue from mining was changed two weeks into the fiscal year. We are dealing with this by first looking at services that are not mandated by NRS, as we have done the past few years.

Services to veterans has not and will not be cut, but that will take another letter to explain. The BoCC has and always will be a big supporter of veteran issues.

The idea that we can just take impact fee money collected for road improvements and use it in our general fund shows how little he really does know or understand the budgeting process we have to deal with. Doing a budget for the county or most governmental agencies is not like your home budget or most businesses as we have green, blue and red money (This is a simple way to understand this and thanks to Frank Carbone for the example).

Certain funds that are raised MUST be used in certain ways and so while the ‘general fund,’ (call that blue money,) where most of the salaries and benefits are paid from, has been low since 2008 from the housing crash, we have continued to cut from other areas inside the general fund (By the way, every other county and the state budget has also been in trouble since then). We also lost Yucca Mountain money thanks to Senator Reid which has also made it harder for us to do everything we have been doing.

Going back to the roundabouts, and I hope this is the last time I have to explain this, Highway 372 is a state highway and as such we cannot do whatever we want to on it. NDOT told us they would not pay for a signal at Blagg but we could put one up if we wanted to. As for Pahrump Valley Boulevard, we were told we could not put a signal there nor a four-way stop but that intersection needs control too. The solution we were given was do nothing, as we did not have $2 million at a bare minimum, or give them the 900K we did have, from impact fees, and they will cover the rest of the cost to construct two roundabouts (That could cost up to $3 million).

While some, like Walt, say do nothing I also had many people telling us to do something and so we agreed to roundabouts (The roundabouts were funded from impact fees; call that red money).

The idea that he, and others, have put forward about looking at each position and trying to renegotiate with the unions is something we have been doing for years. It is extremely insulting to have the same few people calling us stupid while they have such a minuscule understanding of what we go through every year trying to turn in a balanced budget with less money (The Feds just print more money – something we cannot do).

Talk about diminishing returns, their continued finger-pointing helps no one except the papers to sell more papers. And as to “incredulous,” it is incredulous to me that he is still considering himself an expert. The paper noted that he was on the Basin 162 groundwater committee and RPC, but failed to mention he spent less than 6 months on both of those boards combined.

I welcome solutions, but I am tired of the same old complaints with no real solutions presented.

And by the way Walt, we are held accountable in this Republic; they are called elections.

Dan Schinhofen is the Nye County Commissioner for District 5.

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