County cuts now reality

Budget cuts planned for three dozen Clark County departments and the University Medical Center stop short of full-time employee layoffs and miss the 5 percent target set by officials in July.

Reducing costs, which would save $22.5 million, required no action from Clark County commissioners, who met Tuesday. The reductions will go into effect immediately.

The 2.6 percent budgetary reduction fell short of the 5 percent target set by County Manager Virginia Valentine to offset the $180.5 million the county will lose over two years because of actions by the state Legislature. Valentine said Tuesday that deeper cost-cutting would require laying off full-time workers.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani warned that the county is running out of room to snip. "This is the bare bones part," she said.

For now, the departments and UMC will trim costs mainly by eliminating 31 vacant jobs, laying off part-time employees, reducing overtime and reducing supply purchases.

Giunchigliani asked whether a union researcher and the county's finance director had determined how much money can be transferred from a capital fund to cover services.

She was referring to Fund 437, which pays for assorted projects. Last month, county staff estimated that at least $54 million could be diverted from the fund to save services and jobs.

However, county and union officials had wildly differing estimates on the total money that could be tapped.

County Finance Director George Stevens said the two sides were close to agreeing on an estimate.

Don Burnette, the county's chief administrative officer, said the next task will be to look at how management can be revamped or reduced to save money.

That might entail slashing some jobs, he said. Or if there's duplication, one manager might be demoted to lower-level job.

"It's kind of a reorganization of our management structure," Burnette said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at or 702-455-4519.