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Flood project gets nod in favor of joint powers authority from Reno City Council



At today’s meeting, the Reno City Council voted in favor of a new cooperative agreement to establish a new Truckee River Flood Management Authority. The item was continued from the January 26th Reno City Council meeting.

The vote in favor of the joint powers authority concludes a journey that had the Flood Project Coordinating Committee voting in favor of this action January 14th, Sparks City Council voting in favor January 24th and Washoe County voting in favor January 25th, with the Reno City Council undecided on the issue until today.

Flood Project Director Naomi Duerr reports that today’s vote was the final step needed to validate the Community Coalition’s efforts involving more than 500 meetings and 20,000 volunteer hours to establish a plan of action after the disastrous 1997 flood caused close to $1 billion in damages in the region.

Background: In early 2009, the governing bodies of Sparks, Reno, and Washoe County determined the best way to manage the region’s efforts to plan and construct the flood project was to enter into a cooperative agreement creating a Flood Management Authority. Legislation was subsequently drafted and passed (SB 175) in 2009 authorizing the cities and county to form a JPA to build a multipurpose flood management project and to fund that project.

The goals of the Truckee River Flood Project are to reduce flood damages, restore 50 miles of the Truckee River, enhance recreation and open space opportunities and improve fish passage throughout the river. At the heart of it all is improving public safety and the quality of life in our region.

Beginning in August 2009, senior technical and legal staff members from each jurisdiction, bond counsel to the flood project and city and county managers met to prepare a draft agreement.

With the formation of the new JPA and the continuation of projects such as the Virginia Street bridge replacement and North Truckee drain realignment, it is anticipated that over 14,000 jobs in the construction trades will be created in the community, homes and business throughout Reno, Sparks and Washoe County will be protected, and disruption to more than 25,000 existing jobs will be avoided.

After the vote, Duerr remarked, “The Reno City Council decision today is an important step forward in consolidation and shows we can work together to address complex regional issues. This move clears the way to fulfill the vision of a flood safe community, with a remarkable restored river as its centerpiece. Every citizen should feel proud of our community’s leaders today. And as they say to me, ‘Now the real work begins.'”

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