Board reviews towns’ budgets, projects |

Board reviews towns’ budgets, projects

by Sheila Gardner

Commissioners reviewed town budgets and capital improvement projects in a final check of the county’s budget Thursday before adoption set for May 20.

The workshop marked a change in the way the county previously approved the budget, giving town managers an opportunity to detail their programs for the board.

Inclusion of the five-year capital improvement plans also was new to the board. Previously those county and airport projects were reviewed outside the budget cycle.

The presentation by Assistant County Manager Christine Vuletich included a detailed explanation of what the capital improvement program is, and how the projects are funded.

Leisure and community enhancement projects include the Community & Senior Center, Lake Tahoe bike path, improvements at Johnson Lane, Lampe, Topaz Lake and Kahle parks, and an expansion of the Kahle Community Center.

Transportation projects include road preventative maintenance, Waterloo Lane reconstruction and improvements at the intersection of Airport Road and Highway 395, the scene Thursday of a two-vehicle collision that injured three people.

Town projects in Gardnerville include sidewalk repair and upgrades, road maintenance and street rehabilitation and the Martin Slough trail.

Genoa has slated renovation of the Genoa Church and the Genoa Street waterline loop.

Minden is seeking a grant match for Jakes Wetland, and has scheduled projects for the Minden Gateway, Buckeye well, street rehabilitation and paving and re-roofing the Minden booster station.

The 2013-14 fiscal year capital improvement budget is $14.2 million. The five-year budget is $89.4 million budget.

Gardnerville Town Manager Tom Dallaire updated commissioners on the status of the abandoned Eagle Gas Station on Highway 395 at the S-curve and Mission Street.

He said June 5 was the “drop-dead date” for the bank to pay taxes.

“I am positive there are some problems under the ground. That’s why the bank hasn’t jumped on it,” Dallaire said.

If Gardnerville acquires the parcel, the town plans to tear down the gas station and convert the property into a parking lot and public restroom with landscaping.

The gas station closed in a foreclosure action, and the county is owed $30,000 in back taxes.

County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said the county’s $124.7 million budget for the fiscal year, which begins July 1, reflects changes in policy and direction.

“The big change was implementation of priority-based budgeting. Those who responded to the budget challenge survey wanted to see more investment in infrastructures,” Mokrohisky said.

For example, the county currently invests 12 percent in infrastructure, while survey respondents indicated the county should spend 25 percent, or twice that.

“It’s critical to create a catalyst how we shift money to where the community says, ‘We really need that,’” Mokrohisky said.

As a result of that mandate, commissioners in April directed officials to shift at least $1 million to preventative road maintenance.

Commissioners praised the efforts of department managers and the towns’ representatives.

“I’m impressed,” said Chairman Greg Lynn. “We’ve been looking at these for a long time. Usually, they fall into the categories of ‘maybe, never and never ever.’ These are things we need to do.”

Commissioners meet May 20 in Minden for final approval of the budget. The meeting is at 4 p.m. at the Douglas County Historic Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St.