Reno has a $3.5 million shortfall in the current $180 million general fund budget and can expect another gap of at least $9.35 million in the budget for the year that starts July 1, the city council learned Wednesday.
After getting the bad news, Mayor Bob Cashell asked for one or two council members to be involved in building the budget rather than the council getting a report few days ahead of a meeting.
“This next year is going to be ugly,” Cashell said.
The anticipated 2010-11 shortfall would include a property tax revenue decline of about $2½ million, with the rest from revenue sources used in 2009-10 that won’t be available again.
“The funds just won’t be there,” Jill Olsen, interim finance director, said of money in risk management, contingency, health insurance and workers compensation accounts.
Now already, the working people have had to forego such "luxuries" as a small cost of living increase...
This year, Reno Police Protective Association members agreed not to take a cost-of-living raise in 2010-11, and other employees gave up raises or other benefits equal to their 4.2 percent raises this year.
Of the $3.5 million shortfall in 2009-10, $1.5 million is expected to be needed to pay retiring firefighters. Under their contract, they are paid for up to 79 days of unused vacation.
More than 57 firefighters have more than 25 years service. Tim Alameda, interim fire chief, said many may retire soon.
To erase part of the $3.5 million shortfall, Olsen said she will use $600,000 from the parks department and $600,000 set aside some years ago for a Reno emergency command center.
Already, hard working public servants have to pay. But what about the big developers always snatching taxpayer funded subsidies? What about the elected officials always rewarding themselves, even when they haven't done much of anything? And what about the state stopping its policy of raiding Clark and Washoe County funds when the state wants to artifically "close the deficit"?
Again, this is the result of Nevada promoting further economic injustice by raiding local governments and failing to invest in its infrastructure while continuing to line the pockets of the ultra-rich. Again, when will we learn from California's failures? And when will we stop ourselves from becoming the next California-style economic catastrophe?
It may be Reno now, but wait until crises like this spread all over the state... Oh wait, it's already happening.