Reno mayor defends spending nearly $10,000 on State of City address

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve's State of the City address this year cost taxpayers nearly $10,000, documents obtained by News 4-Fox 11 show.

The event, held at Atlantic Aviation on January 26, featured live music, a shuttle to bring attendees from a nearby parking lot and professionally made videos highlighting the mayor and each city council member.

Local video production company SoSu TV produced the videos, which were far and away the most expensive item at $5,100.

Schieve said more than 700 people attended the event. She said the expenses were justified because the value of the speech's publicity exceeded the costs.

In an interview, Schieve referenced several positive examples of media coverage across the nation.

"The rate of return on the State of the City was astronomical," Schieve said. "I can think back 10 years ago when we started Midtown when we spent $5,000 to brand Midtown ... can you imagine where we would be today had we not spent that money?"

The money came out of the city's general budget, and city officials said a similar amount was spent in previous State of the City addresses.

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini's State of the City address delivered on Monday was essentially free, aside from buying a few refreshments for the roughly 100 attendees, city spokesman Adam Mayberry said.

About 150 watched the most recent Washoe County State of the County address in person, county spokeswoman Nancy Leuenhagen said.

"Since Washoe County is funded by taxpayers, there was a key effort to be fiscally conservative. The entire presentation was produced in-house with existing staff and the division’s contract TV vendor, WCTV," Leuenhagen wrote in an email to News 4-Fox 11.

The Carson City Chamber of Commerce hosted Mayor Bob Crowell's address January 31. A spokeswoman said that event was essentially free as well.

Washoe County School District superintendent Traci Davis delivered the State of Education address in mid-February. District spokeswoman Megan Downs said the only expense for the event was for desserts, but those were funded by an outside donation.

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