March 14, 2007

Here's what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket

Lyon County has a huge budget shortfall. Why?

The county's budget headache can be traced to the building slowdown, the tax cap and a 3 percent tax abatement mandated by the state, said Comptroller Josh Foli.

He presented the commissioners with revenue projections and budget requests that leave the county with a $1.75 million shortfall at the end of the next fiscal year June 30, 2008.

Foli said the building slowdown hurt because it cost the county millions in sales tax revenue.

"The economy has slowed down in Nevada," he said. "It's kind of a domino effect, so our sales taxes have decreased."

Sales taxes are part of the consolidated tax the counties receive from the state, and Foli expects that to be far less than in previous years. He also said lower real estate transfer taxes played a role.

"The real property transfer taxes decreased 27 percent from last year to this year," he said. "When you have building going on and houses are selling, that generates revenue from that tax."
Options to deal with the budget shortfall only discuss belt-tightening (layoffs, benefits eliminated, etc) and don't seem to address the issue of looking for sources of revenue elsewhere.
  • $1.37 million saved by laying off all positions created in the last three years except emergency personnel.
  • $2.14 million saved by laying off of all positions created in the last two years with no exceptions [does this include our new deputies?]
  • $1.376 million saved by reducing overtime
  • $270,000 saved by eliminating temporary help
  • $408,000 saved by eliminating 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all positions except Sheriff's sworn officers
  • $210,000 saved by eliminating 2.5 percent merit pay for all employees except Sheriff's sworn officers
  • $154,000 saved by eliminating dependent health insurance coverage
  • $60,500 saved by eliminating pay plan reclassification studies
  • $135,000 saved by taking 1 cent from the special medical indigent fund and moving it to the general fund
  • $210,000 saved by leaving 1.55 cents of tax in general fund instead of transferring it to surplus building maintenance fund
  • $300,000 saved by reducing funding contingency fund by 1 percent
I sooo want to get snarky here, but this is where I live, and this means the quality of life in a county that already has plenty of quality of life problems is just going to get worse. Many of us saw this coming when the property tax cap went into place. Those in power in our smaller population counties surely knew what was coming. But did they say anything? Doubtful. At least, they aren't going to say it to us. No self-respecting Republican in a a red county (and believe me, they're the ones running the show in Lyon County and just about every other county in CD2) is ever going to say, "No, we need those taxes to keep the lights on. Folks, you want cops, roads, schools, jails to lock up the bad guys? You're going to have to ante up." Nope, you are never gonna hear that. Ever. It's too easy keep the Big Lie alive. You know, the lie that says we can have it all and not pay for it.


Featheriver said...

One of the biggest problems those Republicans seem to have. They don't want to pay for what is needed. Anything to avoid a tax.

Not much you can do, I fear. It's hardwired into their genes.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the Lyon County Commissioners didn't slow their budget down and bank some for a rainy day when the housing boom was going on. The Bubble has burst and more to come. Housing bubble pundits say that 2007-2008 will hit Nevada hard with loan resets culminating in foreclosures.