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The governor’s garage sale
by Nathan Orme
Feb 13, 2011 | 787 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eric Holland
Eric Holland
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A report came out this week that Gov. Brian Sandoval is cutting the budget for the state Governor’s Mansion for the next biennium.

Not only that, he is turning down a raise of about $8,000 per year. And he’s taking a 5 percent pay cut and donating it to the Millennium Scholarship program to help Nevada high school grads go to college here at home.

Being governor is no ordinary job, but eight thousand bucks is eight thousand bucks. So I applaud him for that. While this is a great gesture, the cynical side of me looks at the fact that he still will earn more than $140,000 and get to live in a really cool house. By the way, that mansion cost cutting means the maintenance budget will go from $642,385 to $596,107. The mansion still gets a full-time cook, full-time mansion coordinator and “contractors as needed.”

Political leaders need to have a backdrop to impress visitors, and I suppose we, the rabble, don’t want our dear governor living in anything less than a grandiose setting. However, the report got me thinking about my own domestic situation.

I live in a comfortable two-story home with three bedrooms and a loft. I have a big bedroom, an office, a spare bedroom for guests and the loft is my girlfriend’s crafting area. I have two living rooms, a nice big kitchen, backyard and garage. It has much more room than I need, but I bought it as an investment (before the market tanked, that is). My investment is stretching my budget right now, but I hope eventually I will at least make a little money on the place.

In the meantime, I have a mortgage to pay on a salary that is, well, let’s just say it’s about a hundred grand less than the governor’s. I’ll bet his house is paid for and the mansion’s maintenance budget is still higher than the values of three houses on my street combined.

So, while the governor is doing the “everyman” thing and saving taxpayer money with the personal cost cutting, let’s think like an everyman. When I needed help paying my bills about a year ago, I got a roommate. The Nevada governor’s official residence at 606 Mountain St. in Carson City is a pretty big place and probably has room for a college kid or two who could chip in some rent money. That will help pay for the “contractors as needed.”

Another cut I have considered is getting rid of my cable. Most of the year it costs me about $100 a month but that doesn’t include the $160 for the added Major League Baseball package so I can watch my team (go Angels!). To save money, I figure I could go down to a casino sports book and watch the game on days when I have time. I don’t know what team the governor watches, but there are several casinos within walking distance of his house and I’m sure one of his buddies has cable so he can probably drop that expense. Now that I look at the map, I hope he walks or rides a bicycle to work instead of paying for gas.

Internet is pretty important for work these days, but if push came to shove I’d cancel that, too.

And Sandoval’s mansion is a short bike ride from the Carson City Library where he no doubt could jump on a computer, check his e-mail and do a little Web surfing for both work and pleasure. That will save Nevadans a few bucks, won’t it?

One final suggestion for the Sandoval family would be to go through that house and sell off some stuff they aren’t using. Since it has been occupied since 1909, I am sure a lot of junk has built up and it could fetch a good price at a gubernatorial garage sale. I’ve done that several times and it helps keep the lights on. I’ll even wake up early, bring coffee and donuts and help put those little round price stickers on the merchandise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go balance my checkbook.

Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at norme@dailysparkstribune.com.
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