Washoe County manager predicting flat revenues

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Washoe County manager predicting flat revenues

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County Manager John Slaughter delivers his State of Washoe County address Tuesday.

During Tuesday's State of Washoe County address, County Manager John Slaughter told his department heads to brace for flat revenues by continuing to rein in spending.

In recent years, Washoe County has learned how to do more with less. Since 2007, its staff has been cut by 660 employees. Last year was the first time any of those positions have been restored and only 13 were added back.

County Manager John Slaughter says the financial outlook for the county is optimistic, but the recession is still causing ripple effects:

"Recovery is a long, slow process for Washoe County. We know that we have a ways to go with that, so my budget message to our departments is to stay the course, hold the line on expenditures, not to look to bringing everything back at once."

Due to the recession, Slaughter says the county is behind on capital improvement projects and has only met bare minimum needs, like basic road maintenance. He's projecting an upcoming period of relatively flat revenues for the county because of recent 3 and 8% property tax reductions approved by the legislature.

Another upcoming challenge for the county will be losing its retirees.

"We know that 25% of our non-management employees will be leaving within the next five years," Slaughter says, "and over 40% of our management staff will be leaving within the next five years, so it's a hurdle that we are beginning to really discuss. Succession planning is going to be a priority for the next year; we need to make sure that we don't lose that knowledge, it doesn't just all walk out the door."

Slaughter delivered his remarks at Tuesday's county commission meeting. County departments will present their proposed budgets for the next fiscal year to the board later this month.