In our last article, we discussed the fact that 2017 sales tax revenues fell despite our taxable sales increasing 585% to $1.6 billion dollars (you can read that article here). In this article, we will inspect the 2019 Storey County budget preview to see what the income and expense projections are.
2019 Storey County Budget Preview
On May 1, 2018, Comptroller Hugh Gallagher revealed his proposed final budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. The April 3rd, 2018 Commissioner Meeting packet contained projections for the tentative 2019 Budget which you can download for yourself here.
I downloaded the document and provided it below. You, gentle reader, may appreciate the fact that I have rotated the landscape pages so you can actually read them without rotating your neck. Once the final numbers are released from the Comptrollers Office, we will provide a followup article showing the adjustments Comptroller Gallagher made to make the budget balance.
While looking at the numbers, I couldn’t help but notice a troubling trend:
Expenses Are Up, Revenue is Down.
I created the following charts to illustrate the numbers provided by Storey County Comptroller Hugh Gallagher.
At $14,094879, FY 2018-2019 projected revenue is below the 2015-2016 levels of $14,126,161. This is counterintuitive when you consider that in 2015 Tesla had just broken ground. After becoming the anchor tenant that put TRIC on the global map, scores of other companies have followed.
This raises a question for our County Leadership: Why are revenues dropping if TRIC is on fire and we are issuing hundreds and hundreds of new business licenses every year?
It comes as no surprise that government expenses are always on the rise. That’s simply how government works. Regardless of the circumstance, there is always a need for more of your taxpayer money to get things done. Here in Storey County things are no different. This chart reflects a stunning 32% increase in spending in three short years. It costs a lot of money to get things done here in “The Richest Place On Earth”. Are you seeing a 32% increase on anything the county does on your street (don’t count the sewer system in VC, we had to borrow the money to get that done from the USDA)? Do you have a new community center? Is your Senior Center fitted with a nice modern kitchen? Does your park have new anything?
This raises a question for our County Leadership; Why is spending up 32% over three years and services flat or down for those of us not at TRIC?
Revenues & Expenses
Expenses up, revenues down. Dang.
The Bottom Line: Income Minus Expenses
That green bar representing the nearly $2 Million dollar shortfall in 2019 should make you want to call the County Commissioners and County Manager. If tax revenue does not cover projected spending, only two things can happen. Cut spending or raise taxes. Which one do you think is more likely to happen? The answer is likely a little of both. The County is counting on Tesla to re-up the service contract which currently gets us about $1.2 million and is set to expire on June 30, 2018. Let’s hope Whitten gets more out of them this year.
However, for those of you paying attention to Tesla, they really aren’t doing all that great. They announced a $710 million dollar loss in Q1 and are burning thru truckloads of cash with the disaster that is the “$35,000 electric car for the masses” Model 3. Look for tough sledding at world Elon this year…
2019 Storey County Budget Preview; Conclusion
The general budget numbers provided here do not show the entire picture. For example, they do not include the 474 Special Fire District and all the fire-related places we spend money. They do not show the School Budget. They do not show the dozens of special funds
At the May 1, 2018, Commissioner Meeting, Commissioner McBride called my work rife with misrepresentations and outright lies. While he and I can disagree with the opinions I have, questioning the numbers I provide is irresponsible. I provided links (and will now update the $1.6 billion sales tax revenue article with all the source documents obtained from the Nevada Department of Taxation) to all the source data I used to create my charts. Below you can find the source documents provided by Storey County. I encourage you to whip out your own calculator, look at the numbers, and make your own conclusions.
Meanwhile, Commissioners McGuffey and Gilman continue to push the notion that the county has enough money to meet the county expenses and write a check to each resident of the county from the surplus of cash generated at TRIC. According to Commissioner McGuffey’s website, sending the residents of Storey County a rebate check is his Number One Priority:
1. Continue to push through a tax rebate or other means of compensation to the residents of Storey County from the extra revenues generated by the success of TRIC as proposed years ago by Commissioner Lance Gilman.
Anyone with a kitchen table knowledge of how to run a household budget can look at Comptroller Gallagher’s tentative 2019 Budget and see statements made by Commissioners McGuffey and Gilman are not founded in fiscal reality. As elected leaders of this County, they should be responsible enough to know better.
Come November, we will have a chance to elect a new County Commissioner. We need strong, competent and capable leadership now more than ever.
Until then, I encourage you to follow Marshall McBride and Pat Whitten suggestion and call them with questions about how they run the County.
Pat Whitten – County Manager
Marshall McBride – County Commissioner
Lance Gilman – Brothel Owner, TRIC executive and County Commissioner
Let me know how long it takes for them to get back to you…