January Director’s Report

This was sent yesterday to DCNR employees.

Good morning to everyone in DCNR and welcome to 2009. I hope you had a great holiday season.

Budget update

Not great news for state revenues. While gaming wins were slightly better than revised projections, they are still well below numbers from a year ago. In addition, sales tax revenues are down. Nevada has slipped from one of the top two fastest growing states to number eight (Utah is now number one). With these reductions in revenues, Nevada’s gap between revenues and expenditures is still of great concern.

On December 31 the Governor submitted base budget numbers to the legislature as well as general budget figures for the next biennium. The Governor’s State of the State address will be January 15. The entire Governor Recommended budget will be released at that time. As you are aware, per the Nevada Constitution, the Governor must submit a balanced budget. As I have mentioned before, this is only the first step in a long process of negotiation between the Legislative and Executive branches. I anticipate spirited debates.

I’m sure you have seen news reports outlining the recommendations of the SAGE Commission. These are recommendations only and will need to be thoroughly vetted through the Governor and the legislature. No need to push the panic button. I will try to keep you informed of the major issues impacting our budgets, pay and benefits over the next six months.

Nevada Legislature Begins on February 2

“No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session…”

– Mark Twain –

The 2009 session of the Nevada Legislature begins on February 2. Actually, the legislature will begin budget hearings in late January, just prior to the start of the session. No surprise that the budget crisis will be the primary topic of discussion and will cast a long shadow over everything else.

Here at DCNR we began preparing for the 2009 Legislature immediately after the 2007 session ended. After a lot of hard work and sweat our budgets have been prepared and submitted to the Executive Budget Office and the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Fiscal Division. Our legislative agenda has been reviewed and placed into bill draft requests and are slowly becoming bills. I think we are as ready as we are going to be for the next six months (or more?).

Each session seems to have its own character and feel. I’m not sure what to expect with this one. What I do know is that, like most sessions, the real work and decision making will occur in the waning days…in late May and June. Stay tuned…it is going to be a fascinating six months!

DCNR employees receive Professional Engineer designation

Certification as a Professional Engineer is a career milestone. I would like to recognize five individuals in the Department who passed their P.E. in the last month. Janine Hartley, Bennett Kottler, Alex Lanza, and Art Marr from the Division of Environmental Protection and Kim Groenewold from the Division of Water Resources all are now officially Professional Engineers. Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and persistence in achieving this certification. I would also like to thank their supervisors and agency managers for their encouragement and support in allowing them to pursue their professional development. Well done!

Department of Personnel offers employee assistance

[Courtesy of the Office of the Governor]

These are difficult times given the state of our national and state economies. The Department of Personnel, through the Employee Assistance Program, offers professional counseling services to state employees who may feels stressed, depressed or just in need of someone to talk to. The services are available both in the North and South as well as by telephone via a toll-free hotline. This service is free to state employees. The website is here.

Dangberg Ranch hosts successful holiday exhibit

Nevada State Parks’ Dangberg Ranch, operated in cooperation with Douglas County, hosted a holiday exhibit in December of historic artifacts from the Dangberg family collection. A video of the exhibit may be viewed here.

NDF offering arborist training

The Nevada Shade Tree Council, the Nevada Division of Forestry and the City of Reno are sponsoring an arborist training series to improve your tree care skills and prepare those interested in taking the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist Examination. The series is in three 8-hour sessions, January 13-15, 2009, and will be held at the City of Reno Horsemen’s Park, 2800 Pioneer Road in Reno. The $75.00 registration fee and application are due no later than January, 8. A registration form can be downloaded here or by request to the Nevada Division of Forestry at 775-684-2506.

Fire & Ice festival celebrates the 100th birthday of Steam Engine #93

The 2009 White Pine County Fire and Ice Festival, at Cave Lake State Park January 17-18, is going to be a sight to behold. This year the festival will begin with the 100th birthday celebration of this nation’s best preserved short line railroad with steam engine #93. More information is here. I attended last year’s event and had a great time. If you can, go to the Ely area, enjoy the winter weather and the efforts of some very talented (and cold) individuals. This is a classic rural Nevada event that this not to be missed.

Have a great January!

Allen Biaggi

Director

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