Budget hearings scheduled this week

The expense and revenue estimates for Douglas County's budget should be completed and it's time to crunch the numbers for the upcoming fiscal year, 2006-07.

The challenge is adjusting expenditures to match revenues, the focus of two public hearings scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Wednesday, in the courtroom of the Douglas County Administration Building in Minden.

Tentative budgets had to be submitted to the Nevada Department of Taxation by April 15 for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. Once the state approves this tentative budget, the Board of Commissioners is required to conduct a public hearing on the third Monday in May.

The final budget must be submitted to the state on or before June 1 and the budget is officially adopted when the Nevada Tax Commission certifies the property tax rates on June 25.

The following is an overview of Douglas County expenditures, based information from last year's budget and a January report by Douglas County's administrative services department.

Ending fund, or balance reserves made up 29.8 percent of Douglas County's budget for the current fiscal year.

Douglas County's population has grown by 24 percent over the last decade, thus increasing the demand for county services. By far the largest component of county government spending is law enforcement, accounting for 21.4 percent of total county operating expenditures in fiscal 2004-05, according to the administrative services report.


• The primary expense for department budgets is personnel services, which account for almost $41.8 million, or 29.8 percent of total expenditures. The category includes all county wages, salaries and benefits.

• The budget for services and supplies totals about $20.2 million, or 27.6 percent of total appropriations. Payments to agencies promoting tourism, healthcare-related expenditures and road maintenance activities are the largest costs among the many items in this category.

• The capital outlay budget totals about $528,000, or .7 percent of total appropriations. Replacement of patrol vehicles is the largest expenditure in this category.

• Grant-related expenditures, which are categorized as "other" in the budget, includes services like the drug and alcohol counseling grant for China Spring. These services cost the county about $270,000 a year, or .4 percent of the total budget.


• The capital projects budget funds large-scale infrastructure improvements like the county's five-year capital improvement program. The budget totals about $12.6 million, or 17.2 percent of all appropriations.

• Debt service payments for bonds and other debts total $4.3 million, or 5.8 percent of the total budget.

• Transfers out from one fund to another are made for a specific purchase or activity and are shown as an expenditure. Transfers total about $4.9 million, or 3.5 percent of the total appropriations.

• Contingency appropriations, are used in the general fund and a few special revenue funds. Appropriations equal about $1.5 million, equalling about 3.5 percent of expenditures.

• Depreciation represents a decrease in the value of an asset. It has the effect of artificially inflating the budget as it does not represent an outlay of cash, rather a decrease in value of an asset. Depreciation expenses totalled almost $1.7 million, or 1.2 percent of the budget for fiscal 2005-06.


What: Budget hearings for Douglas County

When: 4 p.m. April 18 and 2 p.m. April 19

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administration Building, 1616 Eighth St. in Minden


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