Reno city leaders say economic recovery is finally being felt in the Biggest Little City. That's the word from this year's State of the City address given by the mayor and the city manager. After a rough few years, it sounds like there's optimism coming from city hall. Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger says this year's budget is lean, but it's balanced.
"This, for the first time since 2007, our adopted budget will not drain any reserves, it doesn't call for any employee layoffs or program cuts," said Clinger.
Clinger gave his first State of the City address since taking over as city manager in June of 2011, and it didn't make people cringe.
"The good news is that the city's finances for fiscal year 2013 are on stable ground," he told citizens at Reno City Hall Monday night.
There are some bright spots ahead; Apple computers is coming to Reno, new projects are moving forward and people are starting to breathe a sigh of relief. Leah Wigren is optimistic.
"Definitely," she said. "Especially after the last couple of years with significant budget cuts, and it really does sound like things are on the upswing. I feel very optimistic about it."
City leaders say there are still challenges ahead, including revenue bonds that need to be repaid. Those bonds helped pay for projects like the train trench, the river walk and the Reno Events Center. Clinger says the city is working with bond holders on a repayment plan.
"Even though we have these reserve bonds, that doesn't put our general operating budget in any danger," he said. "They're based on dedicated sources of revenue and that's all the bond holders have access to."
Citizens also learned about some new initiatives.
"We will develop an online tool so that citizens will be able to, with one click, see how we deliver key services; for example how quickly we respond to citizen complaints, how many code enforcements we enforce and how many streets we improve," said Clinger during the address.
And folks we talked to seemed pleased with the state of the city, even as they cross their fingers and hope for the best going forward. Reno Mayor Bob Cashell reminded us of why people live here.
"We've got the best city in the world," he said. "We've got the greatest places to live. You can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon, you've got mountain climbing, you've got bikes, you've got everything in Reno.