Sparks Mayor Says Budget Remains Challenging

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

SPARKS -- Geno Martini, the mayor of Sparks, said tough times are not over despite indications of a recovery. Martini delivered the message to residents of the rail city during his annual 'State of the City' address.

"We've turned a corner, but it's not the corner," Martini said.

Martini said the City of Sparks' expenditures remain greater than the revenues it receives.

"The fact is we are digging ourselves out of the worst downturn we will ever experience in our lifetimes, we don't expect our revenues to return to pre-recessionary levels for at least another decade."

Two-hundred fewer are working for the City of Sparks than before the recession, Martini said.

Martini announced the City is seeking advice on how to stretch every dollar from its workers -- an effort being called: "Project: Innovation."

"I think the whole point of it is to get those creative ideas so that we can avoid things like staff reductions because while it's sad every time we lose an employee, it's sad because we are diminishing the services to the City of Sparks," councilmember Julia Ratti said.

Martini also said he is concerned about cuts to Sparks' police force. He said officers routinely earn overtime in order to cover shifts. Martini added it has been a struggle to staff patrol shifts to recommended levels.

However, Martini also highlighted positive improvements happening in Sparks. He spoke of a help desk that is a 'one-stop' for a variety of needs at City Hall. At the desk, people can pay sewer bills, try to obtain a business license and much more.

Martini also said the Sparks Marina was recently upgraded to accommodate more events.

He said redevelopment efforts continue in Victorian Square, and touted a baseball event moving to Sparks.

Ratti said it is likely Sparks will again see a budget deficit, but it's too soon to know how much.

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