Budget cuts are hitting close to home for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. In the case of the Governor's Mansion, they're hitting the home itself.
Sandoval is turning down a raise that would have upped his salary from $141,000 to $149,573 per year. He also has said he will take a 5 percent pay cut to coincide with the reduction he's asking of state employees, and donate the $7,050 in savings to the Kenny Guinn Millennium Scholarship Program and to the Nevada Office of Veterans Services.
The total governor's office budget for the upcoming biennium is a proposed $3.98 million, down from $4.19 million approved in the 2009-11 biennium. The number is also down from the $4.8 million approved in 2010 by the interim finance committee, when the governor's office was administering federal stimulus funding and bidding for President Barack Obama's Race to the Top education funds.
The Assembly Ways and Means committee, which held its first meeting Tuesday, also heard the budget for the governor's 101-year-old mansion on the west side of Carson City.
Sandoval's proposed budget calls for $596,107 in maintenance costs over the next biennium, a slight drop from the $642,385 initially approved in the 2009-11 biennium.
Savings comes as the mansion reduces the pool of money it uses for hired help. Sandoval's proposal allows for 2.64 staff members: a full-time cook, a full-time mansion coordinator who organizes special events and performs other management tasks, and funds for contractors as needed.
During a legislative session, costs go up because the mansion hosts more special events, Stephanie Day, deputy budget director, told the committee.
The 23-room mansion was built in the Classical Revival style, and was at the center of controversy in 2008 when former Gov. Jim Gibbons sought to have his wife, former first lady Dawn Gibbons, evicted from the residence after he filed for divorce.