Douglas County approves $49 million budget

Kurt Hildebrand /

The state revealed on Wednesday that nearly a fifth of Douglas County’s workforce was unemployed in April.

Figures from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said there were 3,953 jobless workers.

That news arrived 30 minutes after Douglas County commissioners approved their final budget.

As of Wednesday, the county doesn’t have sales tax numbers it needs to determine what and how much it will have to cut in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sales tax numbers for March should be released by the state over the next week.

“It’s pretty unanticipated,” Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby said when asked if the county could devote its reserves to balance the budget.

The county’s budget is balanced as of this week at $49 million. Officials say it could be October before the full impact of the coronavirus closures is known.

The county is leaving around three-dozen positions vacant, a third of which are full-time. Included among the vacant positions are a jail deputy and two dispatchers.

The majority of the commissioners expressed support for continuing the weed abatement program.

That program supplements the Conservation District for spraying weeds in common areas around the county.

The county has implemented a hiring freeze and all travel and training is on hold.

County officials said they plan to bring back monthly reports to see how revenues are coming in before determining whether layoffs or furloughs will be necessary.

The state requires the county submit its final budget by Monday, which left commissioners without much time to adjust.

One of the biggest hits will be to the Douglas County Public Library budget, which expects to see a 22% cut to revenues.

Douglas County commissioners committed to spending $443,007 for a road at their May 21 meeting, but it wasn’t for Muller Lane Parkway.

Reconstructing Lake Village Drive at Round Hill Village is on the county’s five-year transportation plan and was already budgeted.

Sierra Nevada Construction had the winning bid, which came in well below the engineer’s estimate of $553,333 and the budgeted cost of $500,000.

Public Works’ Josh Nordloh said that staff would prefer to move forward with the project because Tahoe’s building season is only four months. Round Hill is not in the Redevelopment Area No. 2 and the county has collected funds to spend on the purposes.

Commissioners also approved $165,000 in residential construction tax funds on improvements to Lampe, Stodick and Aspen parks.

Among the projects is replacement of the 50-year-old lighting system at Lampe Park. Community Services Director Scott Morgan said that the money collected from building permits can only be spent on parks, and must be spent within three years of being collected or it must be returned to the developer.

Sheriff Dan Coverley also received the go-ahead to purchase a new pickup for $58,000 after a series of chases disabled other vehicles.

“We totaled two vehicles chasing a guy down and taking him to jail,” Coverley told commissioners.

The two sheriff’s vehicles were damaged in the pursuit of Fabian Campos who was driving a red Audi that had been reported stolen. Campos rammed one vehicle, and the other was damaged while conducting a pursuit maneuver. Campos is scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court on June 2 to obtain a mental evaluation.

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