What's in store for Winnemucca in 2014
Thursday, January 02, 2014 4:00 PM
WINNEMUCCA - The clock has turned and a new year has arrived. It is now 2014! How will this New Year unfold? Although our community is financially sound, we are in challenging economic times. The need for services continue to grow as does the cost. Government is caught in the middle as we weigh individual needs verses stewardship of the taxpayer's dollar. I have said often that we are fortunate in northern Nevada to be in a better economic position than many areas. However with that said, the mining industry is currently experiencing a decline in the price of gold which has caused some mines to re-evaluate their business operations. Our area is not truly diversified; we rely primarily on the mining industry for not only their tax dollars but the support they provide our many service and support organizations. We do need to be cautious as we go forward this year.
With the building that has gone on this last year, the city will see a slight raise in property tax income. The property tax, however, represents less than 25 percent of our revenues. The sales tax revenue on the other hand represents over 50 percent of our revenue and we are seeing a decrease in this revenue this year. We projected approximately $4 million in sales tax revenue; however, the actual revenue is down approximately 20.
The city operates a very lean fulltime workforce of 46 people. City hall (with building department and recreation department) has six people; police department has 23; and public works has 17 positions. Our fire department (which is not considered as a full-time) operates with a fire chief and 24 volunteer firemen. I, as mayor, and the five council members, although we are considered employees, we are also not included in the fulltime workforce. When the council does review the workforce positions, it is with the taxpayer's dollar in mind. As the city enters the second half of our fiscal year, the goal is to continue to maintain a balance of workforce and services. We have great employees and they have done an awesome job for the city.
For the most part, the city has progressed on the accomplishment of many of the goals that were set in our budget hearings last year. We received the grant to fund the beautification and safety project to put in sidewalks on East Winnemucca Boulevard. The cremation structure at the cemetery has been completed. We are continuing our committee for the Community Arts Center in hopes of finding a viable grant opportunity. The expanded animal shelter is almost ready to go to bid. We are working with the Boy's and Girl's Club committee to expand not only the opportunities for youth but also to look at recreation facilities as a possible part of the expansion. The new fire station will begin construction in the spring. The airport has received grants to enhance this property. Before the end of the fiscal year, the city will pay off our one debt on the North-side water project and be debt free. Our road construction was completed with the addition of two new roads (Great Basin Drive and Water Canyon Road). We are also constructing additional storm drain piping in the Water Canyon Road area. The sewage treatment facility is being upgraded to meet the 2015 NDEP requirements. We also continue to look at updates to all of our equipment for police, fire and public works.
As an update on our winter project to add the new sewer connection, work will resume on the trenching on Second Street. We are now in between Melarkey Street and Bridge Street. You will find it to be very congested in this work area. This next month will have the most effect on downtown travel - but please be patient. It is a needed improvement.
Our community is moving forward and trying to position ourselves as progressive, business friendly and family-oriented place to call home. We are continuing to work on becoming economically diversified. 2014 is the year for your involvement. Make a resolution this year to be involved; voice your opinion and give back to your community to make a difference.
I would like to conclude by reiterating that 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am interested in your comments and participation.
Di An Putnam is the mayor of Winnemucca.