Sunday, June 1, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Clark County commissioners approved a $1.4 billion county operating budget last month amid lots of talk about limited resources, so we decided to check up on how they’re managing the dollars they control individually.
You mean their so-called discretionary funds?
Right. You’ll recall that back in November we highlighted how each commissioner used the $15,000 in taxpayer money he is allocated annually. We found most commissioners had spent less than $2,000, but the board’s three newest members had spent more. Commissioner Lawrence Weekly led the pack — he had spent $22,036 since taking office in January 2007. Some of that money went to hula dancers for a senior citizen luau and a Frank Sinatra impersonator for a Mother’s Day celebration. In all, commissioners had spent $37,907 during the 16 months examined by the Sun.
How have they been doing since then?
In the past six months — November through April — they’ve spent a total of $8,424. That’s a monthly average of $1,404 for all commissioners combined and a 41 percent decrease compared with the previous 16 months, when they spent a combined monthly average of $2,369.
Who spent the most this time around?
Weekly remains No. 1. He spent $5,314 on his cell phone, a student leadership conference and a youth town hall meeting.
Commissioner Tom Collins came in second, spending $1,600 to cater a holiday dinner for seniors in December.
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani followed at $873. That went for food and supplies for a Bingo-A-Plenty Senior Holiday Event and four other events.
Commissioners Bruce Woodbury and Susan Brager spent money only on their cell phones, for a total of less than $500 each. The two other commissioners — Rory Reid and Chip Maxfield — spent nothing.
Have commissioners established guidelines yet for how they can spend the money?
No. There is no formal policy that restricts how commissioners can use their discretionary funds.
Woodbury and Maxfield have said they want one, but neither has brought a proposal forward.
Maxfield said he still plans to propose a policy, but wants to circulate it among his fellow commissioners to get their feedback before bringing it forward publicly.
Any other news?
McCarran International Airport received the second-highest customer satisfaction rating among the nation’s largest airports, according to a report released recently by J.D. Power and Associates.
Travelers ranked the county-owned airport particularly high in the area of airport accessibility.
What’s so great about getting in and out of McCarran?
For one thing, the airport isn’t joking about the economy lot being economical. Roughly 100 travelers who parked there during the Memorial Day weekend found the price hard to beat: $0.
Typically, parking for a three-day weekend would cost $18 per car in the economy lot. But the crush of cars exiting the lot Monday night prompted parking attendants to wave drivers right past the fee booths.
Airport spokesman Chris Jones said travelers are sometimes given a free pass when the lot’s exit lines get too long, though he emphasized that such instances are uncommon and should not be expected.
The idea is to keep customers happy, he said.
Why are the lines getting so long anyway?
One factor is ongoing construction on an airport terminal. That knocked out about 1,100 of the economy lot’s 4,100 parking spots and half of its exits.
Jones said the airport plans to open a new economy lot in November with 5,100 spaces. When that happens, don’t expect any more freebies. Until then, you can park in the economy lot and hope for a run of luck — just know the odds are long.
Tony Cook can be reached at 259-2320 or at [email protected]