Updated May 17, 2023 - 12:34 pm
The Henderson City Council on Tuesday approved a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes funding to add nearly 80 employees, primarily in public safety positions.
The city’s general fund is expected to bring in $364.2 million in revenues and spend $366.6 million during the 2023-24 fiscal year, which starts July 1. The newly approved budget calls for spending $25.3 million more than the $341.3 million it is estimated to spend this fiscal year and is expected to bring in just $4.8 million more than the $359.4 million in revenues this year.
Assistant Director of Finance David Weiser told the council that the budget calls for adding 79 staff positions. Fifty-eight positions will be in public safety, including 34 firefighters, one emergency management position, seven police positions and 16 other police staff positions expected to be added under “more cops funds.”
Weiser touted the city’s commitment to public safety in his presentation Tuesday. He noted that the public safety category accounts for $214.7 million, 58.6 percent of general fund spending. The city will spend $19.4 million more on public safety over the coming fiscal year than it is estimated to spend this year, the new budget shows.
Fire, police, building inspection and emergency management fall under the umbrella of public safety in the upcoming fiscal year budget. Police costs account for $126.6 million; fire spending, $81.6 million; $3.1 million for building inspection; and $3.5 million for emergency management.
General government spending covers departments within the city government, including mayor and council, city manager, finance, community development and building maintenance among other departments. The expenditure category accounts for $72.6 million.
The next biggest expenditure category is culture and recreation, with spending projected to amount to $51.3 million. Judicial costs are projected at $15.2 million; public works spending at $9.3 million, and community support costs at $3.3 million.
Most of the general fund’s income comes from consolidated tax and property taxes. Consolidated tax is expected to generate $172.2 million, accounting for 47.3 percent of the 2023-24 general fund’s revenue. $98.4 million of the revenues will be from property taxes, 27 percent of the total.
The remaining revenues will come from franchise fees, charges for services, licenses and permits, fines and forfeits and a category labeled “miscellaneous.”
Weiser said the new budget will enable the city to maintain its low tax rate and high ratio of employees to residents in comparison with other Nevada cities. He said the city’s tax rate of 77 cents per $100 in assessed valuation is “among the lowest” of major cities in the state.
Council members commended Weiser and the finance department for their handling of the budget and maintaining the low taxes and the ratio of employees to residents among Nevada cities.
“I know we all know but I am so stinkin’ proud of that,” Councilman Dan Stewart said after praising Weiser on his presentation.
More council actions
In other actions, the council heard a quarterly report from Clark County School District from Region Three Superintendent Deanna Jaskolski about Henderson schools.
Multiple members of council were critical of the district’s performance presented in the report, with a focus on chronic absenteeism.
Jaskolski said the district recently adopted a new multi-tiered system of support after Mayor Michelle Romero asked about the school district’s high rate of chronic absenteeism.
Council members Dan Shaw, Jim Seebock and Carrie Cox each called for accountability for continued failings from the district.
“What I’d like to get to is some accountability that says, ‘We think this program is going to work, and if it doesn’t work, we’re going to change it,’ and have a specific time period,” Shaw said in the meeting, “because every single data point that you gave to us, is either level or worse.”
Jaskolski pointed out that the multi-tiered support system was introduced two weeks ago and the district expects to see results “as quick as possible.”
Council members Cox and Seebock asked Jaskolski what the city could do to help the district improve results, to which Jaskolski replied that the city’s support of district “wraparound services” of support would help.
Romero ended the quarterly report with a message of expectations to Jaskolski and the school district.
“We want our city to be premier, and we cannot be premier with failing school rates,” Romero said to Jaskolski. “So our expectations of you are very high, and when we say we would like to see significant improvement, we mean it.”