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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 9:14 PM

Commissioners Approve 2024-25 County Budget

Commissioners Approve 2024-25 County Budget
County Admin Building.

At their May 22 meeting, the commissioners approved the 2024-25 county budget. They discussed the differences between the tentative budget, proposed in February, and the final budget approved for submission to the State of Nevada Department of Taxation last month.

Comptroller Sherry Wideman explained that revenues were down by 2.77%, or $1,957,646, from those presented in the tentative budget hearings in February due to reduced revenues from CC Communications and grants.

Considering the lower-than-anticipated revenues, county leadership asked departments to reduce current-year expenditures by 10% on a portion of their remaining 2023-24 budget and an additional 15% on the same portion of the 2024-25 budget to meet projected revenue. The requested reductions resulted in overall savings of 1.62%, or $1,128,729, between the tentative and final budget for 2024-25. 

Following the departmental cost-saving measures, the 2024-25 budget has an estimated ending fund balance of $40,829,097.

County Manager Jim Barbee took a few minutes to clarify some misconceptions he has been hearing from the public. He said the county is in “very strong financial shape,” citing the annual comprehensive financial report, which shows the county’s net position in 2018 was $136 million with growth to $189 million by 2023. This indicates a gain in the county’s financial strength and an upward trend.

He said that many government functions that operate using general funds monies had reduced their expenditures from 2024 to 2025. Examples include data processing, human resources, emergency management, and building inspections. Savings were gained when longtime personnel retired or left the county and when departments were combined. 

With the state-mandated requirement to increase personnel in the Public Defender’s Office, Barbee explained that the state would pick up 90% of the cost for doing so, leaving the county responsible for 10%. Over the past few years, the county has spent about $450,000 on the Public Defender’s Office and will continue to do so with slight increases in response to inflation. The state will pick up the bulk of the cost for remodeling new office space for the larger Public Defender offices and hiring five new staff from a state fund set aside for this purpose.

Barbee explained that the county had spent about $290,000 per year on maintenance at the 3C Event Complex, including the aquatic center, ball fields, Rafter 3C Arena, etc. Still, the money was well-spent because the facility generates economic development dollars in booking fees to help cover the annual maintenance costs. Furthermore, the events held at the complex, including the arena, significantly impact the local economy. He said the county uses a conservative estimate of $9 million in economic impact from outside events and visitors coming into the local community. 

“We think we should be between $10-12 million in economic impact in fiscal year 2024,” Barbee said from the 3C Event Complex events.

Barbee suggested a change in the way the budget is presented in the coming years. He said the Comptroller’s Office will present department heads with a base budget in January with predictions for growth for the remainder of the fiscal year. That way, department heads will better understand projected growth and expected revenue.