Planning Further Ahead
The City should honor its commitments to the public. The board of supervisors has approved a financial policy that provides a framework for decisions. We have a contingency fund that should only be used for emergencies. We need this funding to protect our City in the event of a disaster.
We are following our board policy and have improved our bottom-line savings account. We used to have a 16-day reserve in our budget; we now budget for 30 days.
Keeping to Promises Made
The board increased water and sewer rates due to failing equipment and infrastructure at the plants. The money in these funds must be spent according to the promises made.
We created a Utility Financial Oversight Committee to review planned spending in the water, sewer and stormwater accounts to ensure all expenditures are within the budget.
We are creating an ordinance to allow donations via your utility bill to be used to help defray utility costs for those in need. We hope to have this program developed in the last few months of 2019.
Keeping Business and Employment Local
Quality of life also means quality jobs. And I want to create a climate that encourages businesses and entrepreneurs to follow their ingenuity and invest in their ideas. That is why I propose a review of our contract processes to find ways to award more contracts to local businesses. Keeping our tax dollars in Carson City will help local business hire some of our 2,100 unemployed.
We have successfully added our local car dealers to our vendor list and now purchase new vehicles locally (if the vehicle is available; heavy equipment trucks still must be purchased out of town).
The number of Carson City residents unemployed as of December 2017 is 1,217, with the construction industry indicating a need for more workers.
As a member and chairman of the Redevelopment Advisory Citizens Committee, I certainly see the need to focus on the charge given to the committee, addressing development and fixing blight. During the recent economic downturn, the focus became special events that are great but changed the use of the monies available. I propose we bank some of those funds to address specific infrastructure and blight issues. The old Scolari’s Market on U.S. 50 is a great example of what must happen to all our vacant and unsightly buildings. Even vacant lots and unmaintained parking lots bring down the city by presenting an appearance of blight.
We started repairs and visual improvements to building exteriors (façade program) to address blight.
We began inspecting the long-term stay hotels to improve their appearance and safety for those residing there.
We implemented a policy to provide no more than four years’ assistance to special events as they need to become self-sufficient (with the exception of Nevada Day and the Silver & Snowflake Festival of Lights, as these are considered ongoing City events).
Infrastructure Strategic Planning
Our infrastructure and City buildings are deteriorating rapidly. We took responsibility for miles of state highways during the building of the bypass. We are over a million dollars short of our yearly needs to maintain what we have without the extra pressure that those roads will place on an already stressed road budget. We need to beginning planning to meet these needs now. It will only become more and more expensive.
This has proven to be a very difficult task. We have implemented a fund to save for long-term infrastructure needs and asset management. We are funding this with a dedicated nickel from property tax (about $700,000 annually). We continue to pursue grant opportunities to help meet road needs, but admittedly this is not a solution. We will have to work together to develop more strategies to meet this issue.