For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
Reno, Nev. April 24, 2018. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting.
1. Board of County Commissioners hear status report and approve direction on FY2019 budget. Commissioners heard a presentation on the recommended FY2019 budget, which included a general guarded outlook, C-Tax repayment and achieving a balanced General Fund budget with a $1.2 million one-time use of fund balance.
2019 Budget Outlook. While the regional economy is improving and with the growth in population, the county's revenues are not keeping up with increased service demand. The total Washoe County budget for all funds is $653 million. However, the demands and costs to provide county services to the community are also increasing and outpacing the county’s revenue growth. Therefore, the overall outlook presented by Washoe County Manager John Slaughter and his budget staff for the Washoe County FY2019 budget is guarded.
C-tax Repayment. Washoe County receives over 80 percent of the General Fund revenues from two sources: the Ad Valorem Property Tax and the Consolidated Tax (C-Tax). The FY2019 budget will be impacted by a one-time C-Tax refund payback, estimated at $4.6 million, due to an overpayment from a C-Tax corporate taxpayer.
Long-Term General Fund Outlook. A five-year forecast revealed the need to bring the General Fund budget into long-term structural balance to ensure fiscal sustainability. Washoe County’s single greatest source of General Fund revenue, property taxes, has taken more than a decade to recover from the economic downturn of the Great Recession and the impact of property tax abatement. The abated amount of property tax revenue, which represents property tax revenue not received by Washoe County, for FY2019 totals over $24 million.
Washoe County continues to work through the extraordinary financial impacts from two presidentially-declared disasters, the January flooding of the Truckee River and the February flooding of the North Valleys. In addition to costs incurred last fiscal year for response to these disasters, this year the county has earmarked General Fund contingency in the amount of more than $1.7 million and has eliminated its entire Stabilization Fund of $3 million to fund repairs and ongoing maintenance. The result is an estimated reduction of more than $2.7 million in General Fund balance at the end of FY2018. While Washoe County has filed approximately $7 million in claims for reimbursement from FEMA of up to 75 percent, all of these claims are currently pending reimbursement.
Budget Recommendations. Recommendations for long-term balance of the General Fund include county departments maintaining existing budgets, as no new revenue is anticipated to be available in FY2019 for above base requests. Departments were asked to prioritize, and to reallocate resources from within existing budgets to fund new budget needs. A review of General Fund transfers out was also recommended.
“The staff has done a fantastic job reprioritizing their needs and reclassifying roles to adjust with our projected FY2019 budget,” says John Slaughter, County Manager. “As I’ve said all along, this is a very guarded year and my recommendations reflect that.”
The Board of County Commissioners will hear a tentative and final budget for approval and possible adoption on May 22, 2018.
2. Board of County Commissioners approve regional agreement to implement a bikeshare system. After months of hearing updates and progress on the implementation of a regional bikeshare system, Commissioners approved an agreement with the City of Reno to begin a pilot program for the public with dockless-bike-sharing vendor, LimeBike.
Through a competitive process, LimeBike was selected as the bikeshare equipment vendor and system operator and is currently the leading U.S. dockless bikeshare company. The bikeshare system will launch to the public at the beginning of National Bike to Work Week, which runs from May 14 – 18, 2018.
3. Commissioners approve several Capital Improvement Projects for Washoe County parks and trails. Commissioners approved proceeding with three proposed improvement projects to repair and beautify park areas and trails throughout the county, including the Swan Lake Nature Study Area, and reconstruction projects for a dozen trails and 11 parks.
The Swan Lake Nature Study Area Rehabilitation Project consists of repair and reconstruction of the flood-damaged trail network from the two presidentially-declared flood disasters from 2017. The Swan Lake Nature Study Area will have five sections of flood-damaged floating dock and hardware replaced.
The Washoe County Parks Flood Damage Repair project consists of repair and reconstruction of flood-damaged trails within twelve Washoe County Parks & Open Space parcels. Areas to be included in this project are trails at Bartley Ranch Regional Park, Crystal Peak Park, Dorostkar Park, Callahan Ranch Park, Hidden Valley Regional Park and Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Specific trails in the project include Ballardini Ranch Trailhead, Huffaker Hills Trailhead, Lockwood Trailhead, Lower Thomas Creek Trail, Browns Creek Trail and Lower Whites Creek Trail.
The Washoe County Parks Flood Damage Repair project consists of repair and reconstruction in eleven Washoe County Parks & Open Space areas including Anderson Park, Ballardini Ranch Trailhead, the horse arena at Bartley Ranch Regional Park, Betsy Caughlin Donnelley Park, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, Golden Valley Park, Silver Knolls Park, Browns Creek Trailhead, Galena Creek Trailhead, Michael D. Thompson Trailhead and the Lockwood Trailhead.