Pool shifts property tax rate to general fund | RecordCourier.com

Pool shifts property tax rate to general fund

by Sheila Gardner

Douglas County commissioners hear a budget update Thursday for the next fiscal year which includes a property tax rate shift from the swimming pool district that will mean $400,000 to shore up a $3.3 million projected shortfall.

County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said the East Fork Swimming Pool District board of trustees approved a $0.0345 property tax rate reduction, from $0.1645 to $0.1300, allowing the county to capture the rate for the general fund.

He said the reduction was approved at the Feb. 16 pool board meeting.

The county had asked for a $0.03 reduction on Jan. 19, and the pool district gave more.

“The Swim Center works hard to provide the best quality services to our users, but we also have a responsibility to represent the best interests of all the residents of our community,” said Kirk Chiapella, swim center director.

“We recognize the core public services that Douglas County provides, the budget challenges it continues to face, and the cuts in personnel costs and services it has made over the past several years,” he said.

Chiapella said the tax rate shift would not impact the level of services at the swim center.

Last year, anticipating the $3.3 million shortfall, the county asked the towns of Minden and Gardnerville, Indian Hills GID, the East Fork Fire District, and the Western Nevada Regional Youth Center for a similar shift of property tax rate for the county’s general fund.

Mokrohisky said in addition to the swimming pool district, the county would look to restructuring property tax rates for the state medical indigent fund and the Western Nevada Regional Youth Center.

“We have worked cooperatively with the swim center on a responsible approach to developing a balanced budget,” Mokrohisky said. “The swim center board of trustees and manager are to be commended for their swift, decisive and responsible action to assist the county in stabilizing the revenue side of our budget.”

Thursday’s presentation to commissioners includes a review of what caused the budget shortfalls over the past several years and steps taken to fix the shortfalls.

“Douglas County has eliminated approximately 65 full-time equivalent positions from its general fund over the past three years, reduced employee compensation by 5 percent, and froze merits in the current fiscal year,” Mokrohisky said.

He also cited regional partnerships and privatization efforts to balance the projected shortfall.

Mokrohisky said the county is in negotiations with its three employee bargaining units.

With the exception of negotiations, the county’s budget sessions are open to the public. Mokrohisky encouraged people to attend.

“The budget process is what lays out how taxpayers’ money is spent for the next year. It’s a representation of the board’s priorities,” he said.

Budget hearings are scheduled March 26-27 in commission chambers.

A tentative budget is due to the state by April 15, with a final budget deadline of June 1.

Under state law, the budget must be balanced.