Nevada lawmakers restore funding to nuclear agency and gaming budgets |

Nevada lawmakers restore funding to nuclear agency and gaming budgets

Sun News Service

CARSON CITY, Nev. “-Lawmakers added back more money Wednesday to budget for the Gaming Control Board and Nuclear Projects Office.

Gaming Control will get back 14 of the positions cut by Gov. Jim Gibbons. The largest group on the list is six of nine auditors cut in the proposed budget. The additions will cost $2.21 million over the biennium.

The Senate Finance Committee also voted to restore credential pay funding for professionals including lawyers, accountants and computer engineers who must meet annual certification requirements. Board Chairman Dennis Neilander had said during earlier hearings those payments are critically important to retaining talented professionals. The Assembly Ways and Means held off on that even though they agreed with Neilander’s assessment, saying it will have to be looked at again after the state’s financial situation is clearer.

The proposed new $4.36 million computer system, however, was put off with lawmakers deciding instead to buy a $165,000 software system which can make the existing system last another two years or so. Neilander testified the existing system is so old it uses a computer language universities stopped teaching 20 years ago.

Ways and Means also voted to restore two positions to the Nuclear Projects office and grant permission to hire a recently retired veteran to keep access to his knowledge of the Yucca Mountain issue. The governor had recommended cutting the seven person agency to just two people, the director and an administrative assistant.

Lawmakers objected saying this biennium is critical since the Yucca Mountain licensing process is beginning.

The committee restored the Technical Division Administrator and Planner/Researcher. Those additions will cost $683,000 over the biennium. But they told director Bruce Breslow to find the $50,000 to contract with veteran Joe Strolin somewhere in his existing budget.