Optimistic sounding news releases were sent this evening to media from the City of Reno and Washoe County regarding how to handle regional fire services.
The City’s version: “City of Reno advocates for regionalization of fire services.”
The County’s version: “Truckee Meadows Fire District calls automatic aid the first step in improving fire services regionally.”
A meeting was held today between the city council and board of commissioners. According to the City,
The City of Reno is advocating for a comprehensive regional fire service plan and has directed staff to work on automatic aid agreements, which would be an initial step toward the City’s ultimate goal of regionalization.
“It truly is a new day,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve says. “If we want what’s best for the public safety of our citizens, this is the time for a positive new start. We feel it’s imperative that these conversations continue and thank the Washoe County Commissioners for coming to the table and having these important discussions with us.”
According to the County,
(Fire) Chief (Charlie) Moore said he believes regional leaders should focus first on providing automatic aid before moving forward with plans to consolidate fire services with the City of Reno.
“I am glad to discuss a regional fire plan and I want to thank the City of Reno for their proposal. There are places Reno can help the County and areas the County can help Reno, which is why my Fire Board and I support Senate Bill 185 which establishes automatic aid,” said Chief Moore. “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a first step and the first step is automatic aid.”
Chief Moore said the 2014 Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) on regional fire services recommends automatic aid and provides a good chart on how to move forward with fire services.
The discussion focused on the bill going through the legislature, SB 185, which mandates automatic aid. In the case of an emergency, the closest fire station would have to respond to the emergency regardless of the station’s jurisdiction.
The City, however, is hesitant about the bill as it stands now: “The City of Reno does not support the SB 185 legislation in its current form, but would if it was amended to include components of regionalization and allow for automatic aid terms to be negotiated.”
Commissioner Bob Lucey (District 2) said the focus should be on doing what’s best for citizens.
“Public safety is the number one concern here and that continues to resonate with the Council and Fire Board,” said Lucey. “I think we can move forward diligently and effectively toward a regional agreement. Automatic aid is the way to improve fire services for our citizens now.”
Both groups will meet again June 15, 2015 to continue the discussion.