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Highlights from July 11 Reno City Council Meeting



Today, the Reno City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting. Below are some highlights from the meeting.

Fire Protection Service Agreements and Fire Deconsolidation items: Agenda Items M.2
The City Council voted to continue with the current Cooperative Agreement for Mutual Aid with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and to not send a 30-day termination notice. Council again asked the Washoe County Commission for a joint meeting so a public discussion could occur in hopes of resolving issues related to a mutual aid agreement. Additionally, Council directed the Reno City Attorney’s Office to draft language with the concept that in order for an agency to request mutual aid the agency must exceed and exhaust all their available resources/capacity and to draft an addendum for a different type of response standard for Hidden Valley and Caughlin Ranch lowering the threshold for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District to request assistance from Reno in these areas.

On June 27, the City Council approved a Cooperative Agreement for Mutual Aid with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and had authorized the city manager to send a 30-day termination notice on July 11  if Washoe County Commissioners did not agree to make three amendments to the agreement by July 10. The three amendments included:
1. A fire command officer must be on scene of an incident before requesting mutual aid.
2. The time frame for reimbursement for an exchange of resources would be reduced from 12 hours to 3 hours.
3. Sierra Fire Protection District has to be a signatory on the agreement in addition to Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

On July 10, Washoe County Commissioners did not authorize the three amendments but instead voted to send additional language for the mutual aid agreement to the city of Reno for consideration.

• Agenda Item E.6
The City Council accepted $193,341 in Victim of Crime Act grant funds for fiscal years 2012-2015 from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services. The funds will support the efforts of the Reno Police Department’s Victim Services Unit, which provides service to the victims of crime and dramatic events such as the air race tragedy. The grant requires an annual match of 25 percent; the $16,112 annual in-kind match will be covered using volunteer hours.

The Reno Police Department’s Victim Services Unit’s primary focus is to address the immediate health and safety of the victim. Advocates respond directly to victims immediately after a crime has been committed and will thoroughly assess their needs to provide the appropriate services.  These services may include advocacy and support; crisis intervention; accompany/respond to hospital; safety planning; personal advocacy; property return assistance; appropriate counseling referral; assistance filing for state compensation; criminal justice information and support; assistance registering for Victim Information Notification Everyday (V.I.N.E.) with the Washoe County Jail; information and referral; and bi-lingual advocate services.

• Agenda Item  F.3
The City Council approved an amendment to the Master Plan establishing the Midtown District within the South Virginia Street Transit Oriented Corridor Plan, identifying the sub areas within the district and recognizing their predominantly commercial and residential characteristics. The intent of the amendment is to preserve the neighborhood character and support the grass-roots revitalization that has begun in the area. The Midtown District is generally bounded by California Avenue, Regency Way, Holcomb Avenue, and Humboldt Street.

• Agenda Item H.2
The City Council approved a request from the Ward Five Old Northwest Neighborhood Advisory Board totaling $800 in Community Pride Grant funds to the Faith Lutheran Church, a non-profit organization and fiscal agent for Boy Scout Troop 152, to offset costs associated with an Eagle Scout pedestrian safety project. These funds will help provide printed pedestrian safety pamphlets and personal flashing safety reflectors for distribution at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Dorm Storm event in August 2012. The safety information and personal lighting devices will encourage pedestrian safety and potentially lessen accidents.

NAB Community Pride Grand Funds are designed to be used for neighborhood-specific projects. These funds are allocated to projects that the city may not have budgeted for that the NAB would like to expedite. Funds are generally intended for projects that are short term in nature and quick to implement. While funding is recommended by the boards, its use and expenditure are guided by established city procurement, expenditure procedures and ground rules.

• Agenda Item J.12
The City Council approved the position of chief of police as a “critical labor shortage position” (per NRS 286.523) for a two-year period. The Public Employee Retirement System must review and give the final approval. The purpose of this particular designation of critical shortage is to maintain organizational knowledge, skills and effectiveness during these challenging times.

Due to recent events with the appointing authority, including the retirement of a deputy chief of police in June 2012, the initiation of several new city-wide programs that involve the command staff of the Reno Police Department and the initiation in June 2012 of a three-year strategic plan for the Reno Police Department focusing on customer service, safety of the community and the development of a performance based culture within the department, it would assist the city to maintain the knowledge, skills and experience of Chief Pitts in the position of chief of police under a critical labor shortage designation. Additionally, with Pitts serving as chief of police under a critical labor shortage, the  city of Reno saves money by only paying an entry level salary for the position, not contributing to a pension program, not paying health benefits and the additional allowances which Pitts volunteered to waive (i.e., vehicle, cellphone, travel).

Pitts has been serving as chief of police for the Reno Police Department since April 2010 and has done so under a critical labor shortage designation since March 2011.Pitts began working for the Reno Police Department 33 years ago.

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Records show Reno council member reimbursed for more than he spent

Reno City Council member Miguel Martinez has traveled to two different conferences and appears to have violated policies in submitting documents for approval.