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Lessons Learned During Recession Helped Carson City In Pandemic

The mayor of Carson City first took office during a financial crisis and is leaving during a pandemic.

Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell told State of Nevada that dealing with the recession a decade ago left the community in a better spot today.

“We learned how to budget things, so we have dedicated ourselves to saving as much money as we can as we go forward just in case something like this pandemic happened to come along and we needed the reserves,” he said.

The city was able to escape layoffs or furloughs as the economy cratered early this year by deferring $9 million in capital projects and its conservative budget approach.

“Nothing’s moving; nothing’s coming to the city; businesses are down. How are we going to survive,” Crowell asked. “Well, we had a two-month operating reserve.”

Crowell said Carson City will be ready to host the special session of the Legislature, which is expected this month.

“We’re hopeful that the legislators who come here from different parts of the state will understand the social distancing and the masking guidelines,” he said. “Hopefully that will allow them to participate in more of our activities, particularly the restaurants.”

The mayor said he’s ready to leave office in early 2021, at the end of his third term.

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“I’d be less than honest if I said I wasn’t happy,” said Crowell, who served 11 years on the Carson City school board before becoming mayor in 2009. “Not only am I termed out, but it’s the right thing for me to do.”

During the pandemic, Carson City has suffered five deaths among its approximately 150 diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

Even though the numbers are low, Crowell said people are still concerned about community spread.

"You kind of see a mix of people here," he said, "I think on balance what you see is people concerned that we need to get out of this as best we can and do what we have to do in order to make that work."

One way the people of Carson City are doing what they can to avoid spreading the virus is by enjoying the outdoor spaces managed by the city. Crowell said there have been so many people enjoying those spaces that the city has had to put up signs directing people to keep their distance from one another.

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Bob Crowell, mayor, Carson City

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