The City of Reno held its first budget workshop for the next fiscal year. As Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports, the City Council raised serious questions about priorities.
Overall, the city is looking to spend $3.3 million more than last year. Nine new positions are being budgeted to the general fund and a new Office of Economic Development will be created to partner with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
But Mayor Hillary Schieve says there are major components missing from the budget.
“I think the two pieces that this council has really been screaming at the top of their lungs is code and cops,” Schieve says. “I’m very concerned, really concerned, looking at some of this.”
In this first proposal, no new public safety positions were added, including police officers and firefighters. Schieve says that needs to change.
“Crime is on the rise. Again, going back to this, I think this is the number one priority in our city,” she says.
Interim Reno Police Chief Jason Soto was asked about his force, including how much land Reno police patrol.
“It’s about 110 square miles, which is twice what it was in 1991,” Soto says. “In 1991, we had 315 sworn positions at that time. That’s right about where we are today.”
City Manager Andrew Clinger says that many of the city’s current job vacancies already belong to public safety.
“If you count dispatch, fire and police, you’re at almost 40 of the 67 positions that are vacant currently,” Clinger says.
The second budget workshop is next Friday, with a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 25. The final budget is due to the state on June 1.