Commissioners Hear Budget Ideas From Staff

Washoe County, Nevada
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We've brought you a number of stories in the past few months about the budget constraints facing local governments. We have coverage of the recommendations made to the Washoe County Commissioners Tuesday.

We reported last week that the county will try to save jobs at the expense of services.

Which means we'll all be standing in line a little longer when it comes to what we get from the county.

A quick summary of how this budget process works:

The County Commissioners represent us. They have the final say on what's in the budget. But the staff does all the legwork, plugging in all the numbers, figuring out the "what ifs" and making recommendations.

This was the day for those recommendations.

As we expected, the staff proposed no layoffs, but reducing the number of jobs through turnover, and shifting some employees to other jobs if their current jobs are eliminted.

And the staff proposed no tax increases.

But Commissioner James Galloway proposed a one-half-cent property tax increase to fight mosquitos when and if the West Nile Virus makes its way here. His fellow commissioners approved that.

They also agreed to consider adding a position to the County Recorder's office.

And when I left, Judge James Hardesty was telling commissioners that district courts are getting an increase in caseloads of more than 40% at the same time their budgets are being cut by seven percent.

It all comes to a head next Monday morning.

The Commissioners will vote to approve the final budget - but not until after they hear from the public.

The public hearing starts at 9:00 in the commission chambers at Ninth and Wells in Reno on Monday. You can tell them what you think the priorities should be.

And if you want to see what the staff is proposing, just go to the "links" area on this Web site for access directly to the proposed 2003-2004 Washoe County budget.