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Council adopts ‘25 budget

As the public hearing and presentation for the adoption of a city budget for fiscal year 2025 began, Mayor Joe Hardy said, “I believe that requires an initial statement from someone.”

Council member Steve Walton proceeded to read a lengthy disclosure.

“I would like to disclose that, pursuant to NRS 281a that my son, Nigel Walton, is a fire captain for Boulder City Fire Department and this matter seeks direction regarding the fiscal year ‘25 general fund budget. All salaries and benefits have already been determined by a previously-approved collective bargaining agreement and I have previously abstained from voting on that collective bargaining agreement of which my son is a member. Those matters are not decision points before council tonight. There are also three proposed positions for the fire department. I have reviewed this carefully with the city attorney to determine whether a conflict exists and the city attorney has advised me that this is not a matter that would impact the judgement of a reasonable person in my position and I may participate and provide direction on this matter.”

(With overtime pay of $1.14 shy of $68,000 in 2023, Nigel Walton — at $203,484.37 — was the highest paid employee of Boulder City, beating out former city manager Taylour Tedder by about $3,400.)

With any city budget approval, the marquee numbers are always labor costs, and capital improvement funding and plans.

The capital improvement ask was $24.5 million. The short version is that items range from $28,000 for a new blade sharpener for the lawnmowers used by the Public Works staff to $1.6 million to renovate the city shops facility to $4.4 million for currently unspecified improvements to city facilities in the Redevelopment Agency area consisting of the historic downtown as well as some immediately adjacent residential areas.

On the labor side of the equation, all employees covered under a union contract get a 3% increase as called for in their contracts except electrical linemen who are due to get a 6% raise.

Staff also recommended (as Walton alluded to in part), the addition of eight new full-time positions within the city. As previously reported in the Review, this represents a more than 25% increase in the number of full-time city employees in a period covering seven budget years. After staying pretty consistent through most of the decade starting in 2010 at 150-160 full-time staff members, the number started to increase rapidly in 2019. The eight additional positions being sought would bring the full-time head count to 212, which would represent a 32% increase since 2018.

The recommended additional positions include three firefighters, two police dispatchers, an aquatics facilities specialist, a “floating” administrative position within city hall and an apprentice lineman position working in the utilities department.

Considering that approval of the city’s budget is probably the most important thing the council does in any given year, there was very little public comment, as in none. There was also little council discussion on the matter.

The council voted unanimously to accept the fiscal year 2025 budget as presented.

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