The City of Reno spent considerably more money on its annual address than neighboring municipalities. Our contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno first reported the story and has been receiving a slew of comments on social media about it.
Some say the money was well spent since Reno is trying to attract new businesses to the area and raise its profile. Others say it's fiscally irresponsible. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke to Bob to learn more.
KUNR: You recently published a story that’s receiving a lot of comments on Facebook. It’s about how the City of Reno spent $10,000 on its recent State of the City address. Why did that event cost $10,000?
Bob Conrad: I attended the event and I posed a question to a city staff member, I said, ‘Hey, what’s the cost of this?’ Essentially, what I was told through a series of communications is that I would ultimately have to file a public records request to get copies of the invoices. Essentially, what they paid for was $2,700 for audio and video production, more than $5,000 for videos that were played at the event, so the production into those videos, the band at the event received $500, and, you know, some posters and backdrops and things like that.
KUNR: You also looked at some similar events locally. Can you tell me what you learned?
BC: Sure. I think it’s important to note that $10,000 for a special event is not a lot of money given the production value and things like that, but I was curious to see what other government agencies had spent on their events because given the situation fiscally that the City of Reno is in—we’re still kind of climbing our way out of the Recession—I thought it might be interesting to put that information out there.
The City of Sparks did not put any more money into their State of the City address than staff time to write a speech and things like that. Washoe County—same story. They used staff time and they have a contract for their video work, so they didn’t spend any extra money. And then the Washoe County School District did say that they received a small donation for their State of Education address, which essentially was a private donation for students to make desserts to showcase their work to people who attended.