57.3 F

Highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting



washoe-150x150-3612829-8881232The Washoe County Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Sept. 10, and took action on items including an update to commissioners on the recruitment for a county manager; received an update on two key public land initiatives; approved action for the Assistant District Attorney to file a petition in state court regarding the constitutional validity of the Board’s legal authority to implement the provisions of Nevada Assembly Bill 46 (AB 46); accepted a grant that will provide home delivered meals to senior citizens; and recognized the week of Sept. 15-21 as Healthy Living Week.

County Manager Recruitment: Item 8. Commissioners received an update on the County Manager recruitment process for the position formerly held by Katy Simon, who retired at the end of June after 15 years on the job. Heather Renschler of Ralph Andersen & Associates reported that more than 40 resumes were submitted for County Manager and their firm will continue to accept applications during upcoming state and national conferences where she will be in attendance. Renschler also said there has been a great deal of interest both locally and nationally with 15 other states represented by potential candidates. The evaluation of applicants will continue throughout September with panel interviews scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18. The top candidates will then be scheduled to come before Commissioners Tuesday, Oct. 22 during their regularly scheduled meeting due to the law that requires interviews be done in public. Final selection for the County Manager and contract approval by the Board is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 12.

AB 46 (School Funding Bill) Update: Item 10. During a 3 to 1 vote (Weber dissenting; Humke absent) the BCC approved action for the Washoe County District Attorney to file a petition in state court regarding the constitutional validity of Nevada Assembly Bill 46 (AB 46).  The authorization allows the County to seek a judicial determination about the legal effects of imposing AB 46 sales and property taxes. Assistant District Attorney Paul Lipparelli told the Board that the action could provide an answer to questions about the bill’s validity prior to the Commissioners having to make a decision on whether to impose taxes to benefit the Washoe County School District.

AB 46 gave the discretion to the Washoe County Board of Commissioners to impose additional taxes that would generate funding for certain school repairs and maintenance in the Washoe County School District. The school capital needs initiative proposes to increase sales tax by ¼ of 1 percent in Washoe County and property tax by 5 cents per $100 of assessed value in Washoe County. The Board’s authority to impose the new taxes depends on getting approval of 4 of the 5 County Commissioners by Jan. 1, 2014.

Commissioners continued their detailed review and preparation for the upcoming workshops regarding AB 46. Two of the three scheduled public meetings remaining are set for 4 p.m. in the Washoe County Commission Chambers on:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 17
  • Tuesday, Oct. 15

Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said, “It’s important that the citizens know County Commissioners have not taken a position on AB 46 and we continue to do our due diligence to learn all we can about this issue. We feel we are doing what is best for our citizens in Washoe County by fully vetting this issue and receiving input from the public.”

Public Land Initiatives: Item 9. The Board received an update on two key public land initiatives that are being considered both on a statewide and federal level. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service court ordered 2015 date to make a decision listing Sage Grouse as an endangered species has prompted Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller to consider federal legislation that will look at Sage Grouse habitat preservation on public lands statewide. In addition, the Nevada legislature created the Nevada Land Transfer Task Force which is charged with conducting a study to address the transfer of public lands from the federal government to the state of Nevada in contemplation of Congress turning over the management and control of those public lands to the State.

The overlap of these two efforts presents the Board with an opportunity to not only assist in preservation of critical Sage Grouse habitat in Washoe County, but also to develop a list of specific lands that could be transferred out of federal ownership for local government use and potential future economic development activity.

Commissioners advised staff to schedule a public workshop on these issues to give citizens a chance to comment and add specific areas of interest. The workshop will be held as a public meeting format in the community and the input that staff receives will be brought back to the Commissioners at a future meeting.

Grant Award for Seniors: Item 6 C. The Board accepted a grant from the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division for a nutrition services program to help seniors. More than $84,000 was awarded to the Nutrition Services Incentive Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center’s Money Follows the Person programs within the Department of Senior Services. For many years, the funding from the Older Americans Act and the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division has been the foundation of many important services that the department provides.

Director of Social Services Grady Tarbutton says, “As our community ages, Senior Services is looking for new strategies to help people remain independent in their homes. The grant money will go toward identifying people in nursing homes who may be able to return home with supportive services. We will reach more than 100 seniors in the next year with these new funds.”

Healthy Living Week: Item 5. Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung introduced a proclamation to recognize the week of Sept. 15 – 21 as Healthy Living Week and, along with the Washoe County Health District and numerous community partners, encouraged northern Nevadans to focus on promoting physical activity and proper nutrition.

“A healthy community benefits us all physically, mentally and economically,” said Kevin Dick, Interim Washoe County District Health Officer. “During Healthy Living Week we have the opportunity to learn how to live healthier and act on it. I challenge every member of the community to make one change to be healthier during Healthy Living Week.”

The Health District will be hosting several events open to the public, including the fifth Annual Obesity Forum Thursday, Sept. 19 at the UNR Joe Crowley Student Union.

The Forum educates individuals and motivates organizations to support efforts to prevent and reduce obesity. Registration is $40 ($25 for students). Registration information can be found at GetHealthyWashoe.com.

This Is Reno is your source for award-winning independent, online Reno news and events since 2009. We are locally owned and operated.