The first quarter of this year is now history. April arrived and brought a little chill to the morning temperature. The chill is just another indication that this is the financial month of the year - budgets and taxes are on our minds.

City officials have finished the tentative budget. We will now mull this over and make sure our predictions of income and expense will work for the 2014-15 year.

We will once again take a conservative approach as our income reduced this year. It is anticipated that although our property tax income has increased a small amount, our main income (sales tax) will be down from the last several years by approximately 20 percent and brings us back to the income levels of three to four years ago.

The ability to transfer the same large amount of money into the capital improvement fund is not going to happen. The plus is that all of our prior approved projects have been funded and will be completed as planned.

Last year we were able to transfer $2.5 million to capital improvements which completed or will complete many of our projects. This year our transfer to the capital improvement fund will be $1.5 million which will allow us to work with the Winnemucca Community Improvement Group on developing a community recreation complex and take care of some of the smaller goals.

Speaking of goals, the city's 2014 budget goals are consistent with last year's goals. We want to maintain a general fund balance at a minimum of 60 percent of current expenditures (our new budget will leave us at 69 percent). This gives us a cushion and makes sure that we stay in the black. In the same light we need to maintain expenditure levels as much as possible without negatively impacting our services to the public. It is also important to maintain our buildings and infrastructure in very good condition.

We are proud of our facilities and the appearance of our community. To keep our community vital, economic development remains a high priority. The city needs to remain active in supporting our business community. To provide for the quality of life that supports the community as well as interests newcomers, we do need to increase our reserve accounts to provide funding for future capital projects and financial liabilities.

With goals also come hurdles. We never actually know what issues we are going to be handed as many are federally- and state-mandated. We are definitely concerned with a possibility that the state may modify our revenue base.

The city's primary source of income is sales tax (approximately 40 percent) and any alterations to that would greatly affect the city as we already have issues with our expenditures increasing at a faster pace than our revenues.

Internet sales do have a major negative impact on sales tax revenue. The city's gas tax is a "flat" revenue as it is collected on a per gallon basis (not a price basis). With the possibility of more electric or hybrid cars coming into use, the gas tax is dwindling. The city is also impacted by the popularity of diesel trucks - we receive no diesel tax dollars.

On top of the local issues affecting us, we have the federal issues such as the Sage Grouse listing, Wilderness designations, Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act.

Every time there are changes, there is a major impact on our budget and our local economy.

When the budget process is over, the bottom line is that we have a budget that is in the black and a council that is looking to the future as they plan for improvements.

Don't forget the Arts Town Meeting on Monday, April 7 - our vision for arts and culture (City Hall from 5:30 to 7:30).

Operation Easter Hunt is on for Saturday, April 20.

The Cultural Diversity Dinner will hold its third celebration on April 25.

Communication is the key to success. I would like to keep you apprised of projects, issues, and general information regarding the city and my representation as your mayor. In return I ask for your input and communication.

Please feel free to call (623-6341) or email me ( I am interested in your comments and participation.