Reno Solves Its ‘Problem’: $11 Million Surplus

      RENO, Nev. (CNS) – The Reno City Council this week solved a problem most cities and states wish they had: how to spend a $10.9 million surplus.
     Councilman Oscar Delgado said he was proud of the way the council dealt with the city’s economic growth.
     “We held the line pretty tight and were conservative with our spending,” Delgado said after the council voted unanimously Wednesday on how to spend the money.
     “Members of this council have seen us be in the red before. We don’t want to be in that situation again.”
     The surplus will be split into five categories:
     – $4.4 million will go to debt reduction;
     – $3.4 million will improvement city infrastructure, including a new police station;
     – $1.6 million will help go to maintenance, including repairs for community center;
     – $1 million will be put into a Blight Mitigation Fund;
     – $250,000 will be used for a Community Assistance Center.
     Assistant City Manager Kate Thomas said the surplus came from a “pickup in business licenses, franchise fees,” and other sources.
     The city collected $3.3 million more than anticipated in business licenses and saw similar increases in franchise fees, property tax, sales tax, gaming tax and parking.
     The city asked for public suggestions on how to spend the money.
     “We have to be conscious of how we use the increased revenue,” Thomas said. “Eighty percent of the budget is staff, so if we overshoot it and get it wrong we have to lay people off.”
     Reno casinos employ 8,500 people, according to the city’s 2013 report, but the public sector is the biggest employer, with 12,500 workers in public schools and the University of Nevada, Reno, and another 2,750 working for Washoe County.

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