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Third judicial seat for justice court to be deferred, again
by Joshua H. Silavent
Feb 29, 2012 | 925 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — In an effort to generate additional savings for a beleaguered budget, the Washoe County Commission today will consider restoring about $68,000 in funding to the Sparks Justice Court in exchange for deferring the creation of a third judicial seat. The deal would save an estimated $320,000 annually over the next two years.

The addition of a third judicial seat was triggered by population increases dating back to 2002, but the Sparks Justice Court has repeatedly elected to waive its creation because of a delay in construction of a new, larger courthouse and years of budget cuts.

The restored funding would be used to cover judges’ salaries, office supplies, interpreter services and other resources.

In other agenda items, the commission will hold a public hearing on a proposal to relinquish ownership of the Pioneer Theater in downtown Reno to the operating nonprofit Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.

If approved, the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, which built the theater 45 years ago, would no longer contribute about $60,000 annually to its operation.

Some commissioners have expressed concern that taxpayers might have to foot the bill for the theater if the nonprofit were to fail for some reason.

Other officials have expressed support for the plan to use the theater for civic and charitable causes.

Also today, commissioners will receive an update that shows the revenues for Sierra Fire and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection Districts have decreased more than previously forecast, as a result of updated property tax billings. Property tax revenue is the largest source of funds for both districts, making up 66 percent of their total combined revenues.

The fire district’s financial consultant will present a report that shows the decline in Truckee Meadows Fire property taxes for the next fiscal year is projected to nearly double and highlights the need to create a sustainable fire district. Sierra Fire Protection District property tax revenues have also declined as projected.

The Washoe County Commission will meet at 10 a.m. today in the legislative chambers located at 1001 E. Ninth St. in Reno.
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