Sparks Mayor gives vision of economic future

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Updated: 3/10/2014 8:20 pm
SPARKS, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The city of Sparks is providing a glimpse at the economic picture for the year ahead. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini outlined the challenges in his annual State of the City address on Monday.

The economic downturn has been a consistent theme in these addresses over the past six years, since the recession hit in 2008. The mayor pointed out the pundits and experts were all wrong. Martini said the city continues to face challenges, but it is weathering the storm.

For the past six years, Martini has talked about the challenging economic times, and this year was no different. Martini said after the speech, the city continues to spend more than it is bringing in, means continued belt tightening must occur in this next budget cycle.

How big of a gap is the city facing? "About $1.9 million is the gap," Martini revealed. "So yeah, it's pretty good sized, but we've got a lot of it planned on and we're ok with it, so we need to plug about $900,000 is what we've got left to plug."

Martini said they could use some reserves and implement some additional cost cutting measures. But for now, there is one thing might be off the table. "Fortunately, I don't think we'll have to lay any more people off, which is a good thing. We're through with that, I hope."

Since the downturn, Sparks is now operating with a-third fewer employees. Martini also does not see salary reductions, but he said the City Manager could be looking at some adjustments. "There are several other areas that I'm sure he is looking at, which is payroll, health insurance, those kinds of things."

In addition to belt tightening, the mayor said increasing revenues might also be on the table. "There's always the option of raising some fees or raising some, we have some property tax that's available."

In terms of revenue, Martini said there is reason for some optimism. "Revenues and the c-tax are coming up, especially the sales tax that's coming up, and due to be up another 4% this year. Hopefully, property tax will be up a little bit. That's been down, down, down."

The mayor noted three historic points. One, he called the darkest day: the Sparks Middle School shooting. He also noted of the sale of John Ascuaga's Nugget and the retirement of long-time City Manager Shaun Carey.
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