Nevada's infrastructure is in need of repair. Government buildings from schools to prisons and roads are in need of funds and staff to maintain them.
It costs far more to repair buildings that have suffered damage than to maintain them and make small repairs as they are needed. Instead, government and taxpayers end up spending more.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, three Las Vegas Valley high school football fields were considered unsafe and unplayable, and two more are headed down that path. School playgrounds have broken pavement and equipment. In southern Nevada, corrections officers were injured after roof hatches in need of repair opened and fell on their heads. Floors collapsed at a prisoner fire camp in Humboldt County before funding was approved to repair them. It will take $40 million to keep Nevada's state-regulated dams in good working order, but the state's annual safety budget is less than $300,000.
The Nevada Department of Administration claimed $600 million in deferred maintenance needs as of 2019. The Clark County School District reports unfunded preventive maintenance needs to the tune of $4 billion.
As home prices tumbled during the Great Recession, so did property tax values, which play a large role in funding local government. Last year, statutory caps on property taxes reduced revenue by more than $1 billion.
Increasing government funding, through property taxes or other means, will only be able to counteract the problem if the dollars are used for addressing deferred maintenance items.
David Geaslin, a Texas-based maintenance consultant, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that parts and labor required to fix broken equipment cost nearly 15 times more than the cost to maintain it. If lost revenues from building closures and replacement equipment are factored in, the cost is even higher.
“Everyone gets so wound up with the big problems that they ignore the little ones,” Geaslin told the newspaper. “And when you finish a big one, another little one becomes a big one.”