The Washoe County Board of Commissioners Tuesday adopted a $1 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Commissioners previously discussed budget presentations by county staff and approved the new budget effective July 1.
It includes nearly 100 new positions, costs to cover unfunded mandates from last year’s legislative session, property tax refunds and costs to provide homeless services.
Washoe County’s Budget Manager Lori Cooke said the county’s expenses are not keeping pace with county revenues, which she said were flat or slow-growing. The county saw a slight drop in taxable sales from ‘21 to ‘22 fiscal years. But both years were way up from the 2020 fiscal year.
County positions, even with the new ones added today, are still under staffing levels prior to the Great Recession. This is in spite of a growing population.
“So 15-16% more population to support with 5% less staff,” Cooke said.
Commissioners said the new positions should benefit the community.
“We’re hiring new parks staff, a new sustainability manager, we’re helping our internal auditor and internal affairs department. We’re supporting public safety,” Commissioner Alexis Hill said. “We’re a service agency and we’re moving forward with these great positions to serve our community.”
Other board actions
Provided by Washoe County and edited by This Is Reno.
Capital improvement plan
The board approved a five-year capital improvement plan for park facilities, trails, open space, libraries, buildings and facilities. The fiscal year total for the plan is nearly $160 million.
The bulk of the budget will be dedicated to building projects, including roof replacements, elevator improvements, parking lot rehabilitation, flooring and technology upgrades.
Nevada Cares Campus contract
Contract approved with Volunteers of America to staff Nevada Cares Campus. The Nevada Cares Campus emergency shelter was developed by the City of Reno and opened on May 27, 2021. Volunteers of America has been the contracted operator since the shelter opened. After the transition of the campus from the City of Reno to Washoe County on Sept. 1, 2021, contracts were identified to be transferred to Washoe County from both Reno and Volunteers of America. The board on Tuesday approved a new contract with VOA to operate and staff the shelter through June 30, 2024. The contract is for $6.5 million per year.
Sheriff’s Office takes over Mobile Outreach Safety Team
The Mobile Outreach Safety Team responds to those with mental health conditions who are in crisis. The Washoe County MOST program is housed in the Human Services Agency but commissioners on Tuesday approved the transfer of the program and its six positions from HSA to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.