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Matthew B. Brown
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Director of the Office of Communications and Community Engagement
City of Reno presents budget recommendations
City Manager aims to pay off debt, increase reserves and retain 15 firefighter positions.
The City of Reno hosted the first of two annual Budget Workshops on Wednesday, April 23 in the City Council Chambers on the first floor of City Hall. Attendees received a current Fiscal Year 14 update and valuable information on the City Manager’s recommended budget for FY 15. (See key slides below, and view the full presentation here.)
The City of Reno’s total budget is $352 million. Of that, $159.6 million makes up the General Fund. In light of the recent news that the City of Reno will not receive another federal Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant fund, the City Manager recommended utilizing one-time funding from the Regional Transportation Commission to pay off City Hall debt ($3.7 million), freeing up $1 million each year over the next four years.
The City Hall debt payoff, savings from the recent Rosewood Lakes Golf Course operational agreement with The First Tee of Northern Nevada ($320,000) and efficiencies in the Fire Department budget ($550,800) would provide the ongoing funding necessary for 15 firefighters.Another top fiscal priority for the City of Reno is to maintain a reserve level of more than 7%. Projected fund balance (reserves) for FY 15 will be greater than 7%, an increase over FY 13, which was only at 4.3%.
“Financial stability has been a top priority of this Council since I arrived at the City of Reno,” says Andrew Clinger, Reno City Manager. “This budget makes significant progress toward that goal by increasing reserves and reducing debt while funding critical public-safety needs as well.”
Fund balance has been increased to more than 7% to enhance the overall fiscal stability and address cash-flow concerns. The City of Reno hasn’t had a reserve level greater than 7% since 2008.
Other recommendations in the FY 15 budget include:
- Projected cost increases include worker’s compensation, bargaining agreement sunsets and scheduled step increases for represented employees.
- Strategic, one-time additions such as an online reservation web-based booking system for Parks, Recreation and Community Services is proposed to enhance efficiency and effectiveness without adding personnel.
- In support of a collaborative initiative with Washoe County and the City of Sparks, the City of Reno’s proposed budget includes funding for a regional online license and permit system.
- Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB), a $210-million liability that is projected to grow, remains unfunded. Identifying a funding source for this liability will remain a high priority for future budget years.
There will be a second Budget Workshop on May 6, and the adoption of the budget will occur at a hearing on May 20 at 3 p.m.