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Highlights of today’s Reno City Council meeting

By ThisIsReno

CITY OF RENO NEWS RELEASE

Header-LogoAgenda Item D.2

Staff of the Office of Communications and Community Engagement (OCCE) presented the newly designed Reno.gov website to the Reno City Council. The website supports the City Council’s priority to increase communication and community engagement. It is part of an effort to put Reno on the map as one of the most innovative and citizen-focused cities in the nation. This is the largest redesign to the City of Reno website in seven years.

There are a number of design features that positively alter both the look and usability of the website. The most obvious is an enhanced search feature located in the middle of the homepage. The purpose of this feature is to allow citizens to easily search and discover pages of interest directly from the homepage. Another feature is the photographs taken by residents that fill the backdrop of the entire site. This is an interactive way to keep the website looking fresh, while encouraging citizens to engage with the City.

To promote more communication between diverse populations in the city, the new Spanish translation feature allows for quick and easy translation of Reno.gov content.

Agenda Items D.3 and H.6

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst, Applied Analysis, made a presentation to the City Council concerning the OPEB liability.

 After hearing Aguero’s report on the increasing liability for OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) funding – retiree health obligation, the City Council approved a resolution for the creation of a trust specifically to safe-keep funding for OPEB-only expenditures.

OPEB liability is common and large for many local governments. The City currently funds OPEB on a “pay as you go” model. Contributions are made to the OPEB plan at the same time and amount as the expenses are due.

The current payment plan is not sustainable; the City’s total liability is upwards of $210 million and growing. In order to meet the OPEB obligation, the City needs to dedicate substantially more in to the system by funding the Annual Required Contribution (ARC). ARC is setting aside the amount equal to the benefits earned during the current year, which will result in a lower liability over time. To fund ARC currently would require $17.6 million or an additional $12 million beyond what is paid today.

The challenge for the City of Reno is balancing the cost of needed services, adequately funding reserves and contributing the necessary amounts to begin funding the OPEB liability.

Agenda Item E.4

The City Council accepted a $70,000 2013 Violence Against Women STOP (Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors) Grant Award from the Nevada Office of the Attorney General. The grant will provide most of the cost for a new Victim Response Coordinator position. This position will assist Supervisor Lori Fralick in the Victim Services Unit at the Reno Police Department. The Unit works to help victims and their families after a crime or traumatic event occurs.

Agenda Item H.4

The City Council approved a resolution extending for one year the current moratorium on the acceptance of land use entitlement applications for the conversion of banked or static billboards to digital billboards.

Agenda Item J.2

The City Council accepted a report by Reno’s Revitalization Manager Alex Woodley which updated the Council on the efforts being made to clean up blighted downtown commercial properties. Woodley says code enforcement has given out fines worth about $30,000 to owners of blighted properties for code violations. So far, 80% of the property owners have complied by taking care of problems. The main improvements include: adding lighting; taking down old signs; cleaning up alleys and trash cans; boarding up windows; painting properties; and removing overgrown vegetation.

Woodley told the Council he is also collaborating with a number of other groups on new downtown maintenance standards for vacant buildings, lighting, and sidewalk and sign maintenance.

During today’s presentation, Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts announced that the Police Department is redistributing six police officers to patrol downtown on foot at various times. He is also working to bring back a volunteer reserve program to patrol downtown.

Agenda Item J.4

The City Council approved three items for the City of Reno Charter Review Committee to consider:

1. Review the administrative structure established under Section One of the Charter for positions reporting to the City Council and City Manager, including whether it would be a more efficient and effective administrative structure to have the City Clerk appointed by and report to the City Manager. Among other charter cities in Nevada, the City Clerk is appointed by and reports to the City Manager in Sparks, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. The relevant provisions requiring review include Sections 1.090, 1.100, 1.110, 3.040 and 3.130.

2. Review the prior Charter Review Committee’s recommendation regarding the limitation in Section 1.090 on appointive officers within the Police and Fire Departments being limited to only the Chiefs. The prior Charter Review Committee recommended that the limitation be revised to no position below Deputy Chief in the Police Department and Assistant Chief in the Fire Department. The original version of AB9 contained the committee’s recommendation, but because the original bill language was interpreted by some as applying to positions below Deputy/Assistant Chiefs, it was removed in a compromise amendment reached in an effort to keep the bill moving. Additionally, recommend deleting 1.090(3)(a) or revising it to clarify whether this language is intended to apply to an administrative assistant. Staff believes the general limitation in 1.090(3) that appointive officers be limited to the head of each department or division is adequate with respect to the Public Works Department and that 1.090(3)(a) is unnecessary.

3. Recommend revising Section 1.100(3) to eliminate the ability to require security from employees of the City other than officers.

During the 2013 Legislative Session, the City of Reno Charter was amended to require the establishment of a permanent Charter Committee to meet at least once every two years prior to the start of each regular session of the Legislature. The Charter Committee’s primary task is to review the Charter and make recommendations for amendments to Council and/or the Legislature.

Agenda Item K.1

The City Council appointed several Reno residents to Boards and Commissions:

  • Civil Service Commission – Darrin Georgeson
  • Financial Advisory Board – Veera Murugappan
  • Historic Resources Commission – Joseph Rodriguez
  • Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission – Kevin Weiske
  • Senior Citizens Advisory Board – Vanessa Dixon