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Highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting



washoecountydistricthealthdeptlogo-150x150-3331553-9579326The Washoe County Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting today. It received an update on the current budget and a forecast for the 2014/15 budget; commended the Social Services Department for winning a prestigious Agency of the Year award; approved a recommendation for an additional structural engine for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD); reviewed and approved the Washoe County Strategic plan for 2014-15; received an update and presentation from staff on the Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan; and discussed the payment of fees for residential development.

Update on Fiscal Year 2014/15 Budget: Item 15. Washoe County Manager John Slaughter reported the budget for the current fiscal year, 20l3/14, was developed on a relatively flat revenue and expenditure level, which was an improvement from the prior fiscal years during the recession. “Forecasts for fiscal 2013/14 show encouraging signs of increased sales taxes while other revenue sources are meeting budget expectations,” said Slaughter. “Expenditures are generally holding to budgeted levels with the costs due to employee wage increases being offset with salary savings from open positions. The early forecast for fiscal year l4/l5 is modest growth in revenue sources sufficient to cover normal increases in base costs. The overall theme for this budget cycle will again be relatively flat, so my overall budget message is to stay the course.”

Social Services receives Agency of the Year Award: Item 6. The Board acknowledged the Washoe County Department of Social Services for receiving the Agency of the Year award from the Human Services Network (HSN). The goal of HSN is to create connections, share information, strengthen providers, and support and advocate for good public policy to assure the provision of quality human services in Northern Nevada. “Being of service is the most powerful decision a person can make and I cannot think of a more deserving agency,” said HSN Executive Director Erik Schoen. Social Services was recognized for its work with the Kids to Seniors Korner Outreach Program, which along with several other local agencies, provides community-based outreach to at-risk populations such as low-income children, families and senior citizens, and for its work with the Crossroads Program which helps homeless, abandoned, abused, and at-risk youth to lead healthy, productive lives. “We wouldn’t be Agency of the Year without the support of the entire Washoe County organization,” said Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller.

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District update: Item 8. Commissioners, acting as the Fire Board, approved a recommendation to defer the purchase of two water tenders in lieu of an additional structural engine. This purchase will save the District approximately $60,000 by not incurring a price increase expected in 2015. The Board also approved an interim plan to financially assist Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD) until new contracts with VFDs are written and approved. Chief Moore also reported on the success of the District’s recent ash can program for proper disposal of ashes. The District’s initial supply of 200 cans was exhausted in the first few days of the program. The Board approved acceptance of donations from the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino that will enable the District to distribute another 300 cans.

Washoe County Strategic Plan: Item 17. Commissioners reviewed and approved the 2014-15 Washoe County Strategic Plan, including the mission, vision and values, and strategic objectives and goals. “Commissioners reviewed various elements of the strategic plan in January last year for 2013-14,” said County Manager John Slaughter, “and the 2014-15 plan retains the previously approved goals and objectives, as well as the mission, vision and values.” To view the entire plan, visit the Washoe County 2014-15 Strategic Plan.

Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan: Item 13. The BCC received an update and presentation from staff on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to address sage grouse conservation and its potential listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The EIS covers all BLM and USFS land in Washoe County and could result in significant changes to land management practices in sage grouse habitat areas.

Payment of fees for residential development: Item 14. The Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN) facilitated a meeting last month with representatives from Washoe County, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) and the local building community to request that the local jurisdictions review the timing of fee payments for construction. The proposal is to postpone residential payments for permit fees until the services, such as sewer, water and regional Road Impact Fees, are actually being used by residential developers. Commissioners asked staff to explore further details through a fiscal analysis. “Let’s make sure this would not affect the County’s cash flow,” said Commissioner Vaughn Hartung, District 4. “From an economic development perspective, if a business owner doesn’t have to pay those fees up front, that business might be able to hire another person and possibly create more jobs in our community.”

The Board directed staff to review the proposal from the development community to review the timing of payment of fees for residential dwellings.

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