Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners Meeting

by | Jun 28, 2022

The following are highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting:    

1. Board approves contract to expand broadband access to Gerlach: Washoe County has been working on a plan to expand broadband internet access to the rural areas of Washoe County. The Board today approved a contract with Digital Technology Solutions (DTS) and a memorandum of understanding with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. The project will construct and install fiber-optics cable from Nixon to the Gerlach Library that will provide high speed Internet access to the library, schools, network infrastructure, public safety entities, as well as further opportunity to offer high speed internet access to the community in the Gerlach region. The cost of the construction, $2.4 million, is fully funded by and in partnership with the State of Nevada Office of Science Innovation and Technology, the FCC’s matching and ERate Reimbursement Program funds. The on-going monthly internet fees will be paid by Washoe County through the State E-Rate program which is 40 percent of the monthly fees in an amount not to exceed $12,588.00 annually.

“It’s a momentous day, and I want to thank CIO Behzad Zamanian and Library Director Jeff Scott, as well as our friends at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe,” County Manager Eric Brown said. “We’re not finished with our broadband aspirations here in Washoe County. Tomorrow we’re convening a work group of the agencies involved to look at what other unserved areas exist in the county that we can use infrastructure money for, or other funding sources.”  

2. Board initiates process to amend county code related to dangerous and vicious dogs: Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS) requested that the Board initiate an update to Washoe County Code Chapter 55, the last update having been made in 2015. The Board heard a presentation on the results of public meetings on the subject, and input from the Animal Services Advisory Board, and approved initiating the following possible changes to the code:

  • Amend the county’s current definition of a dangerous dog to include two categories: (1) Dangerous and (2) Vicious; currently the only category is “dangerous.” 
  • Clarify definitions of “animal” to include dogs, cats, and livestock, “substantial bodily harm” and “provocation,” and refine the exceptions to a dangerous or vicious dog determination.  
  • Provide standardized, department-issued signage to be posted on properties containing dangerous or vicious dogs.  
  • Expand the approved housing for keeping of a dangerous or vicious dog to include the owner’s dwelling, and update requirements in the event an outdoor enclosure is needed to standardize the size requirements and allow wider use of commercially available kennels.  
  • Differentiate the liability insurance requirements: (1) $150,000 for dangerous dogs and (2) $250,000 for vicious dogs. (Currently $250,000 for all dangerous dogs).  
  • Strengthen requirements when the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog elects to relocate the dog within Washoe County, or move the dog outside of Washoe County.  
  • Strengthen requirements when the owner of a dog who has been declared potentially dangerous, dangerous or vicious in another jurisdiction elects to introduce that dog into Washoe County from another jurisdiction.  
  • Strengthen requirements when the owner of a dog that is awaiting a dangerous or vicious determination hearing elects to transfer ownership of the dog to another person.  
  • Specify and update requirements for keeping a dangerous or vicious dog.  
  • Clarify when a dog who is awaiting a dangerous or vicious dog determination hearing can be impounded, as well as when a declared dangerous or vicious dog can be impounded.  
  • Add a new code section to grant authority to a Washoe County Administrative Hearing Officer to order a dog be euthanized if WCRAS requests that the animal be euthanized prior to the hearing (notice + opportunity for dog owner to be heard at hearing), and egregious specified criteria is proven at the hearing.  
  • Repeal a section in current code that criminalizes the harboring or transferring ownership of a vicious dog, as this code section is duplicative of state law.  
  • Update the penalties section of WCC Chapter 55 to reflect current practices.  
  • Clarify that it is unlawful to refuse to quarantine/surrender for impoundment for purposes of quarantine a biting animal or animal suspected of rabies which the Rabies Control Authority has ordered to be quarantined.

3. Board extends lease of property at Nevada Cares Campus: In December 2021, Washoe County leased a 2-acre facility adjacent to the Nevada Cares Campus from the Reno Housing Authority in order to provide emergency overflow shelter space and construction staging with the intent to fully purchase the property. The current lease is slated to expire June 30, 2022, so the Board today approved an extension of the lease through Aug. 30, 2022, ending upon the purchase of the property. Washoe County plans to construct a 50-unit, supportive housing project on the eastern side of the RHA parcel as well as utilize the existing long structure on the southern side of the parcel for overflow shelter and a resource center. Construction is set to begin in July 2022 and this extended lease will allow access to the electricity supply located at the main structure on the RHA property immediately while the sale is in process.

4. Board awards security contract to Allied Universal Security: Since July 2018, Allied Universal Security has provided armed and unarmed security services for Washoe County. These services included court security personnel in Reno, Sparks, and at Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center; Human Services Agency locations in Downtown Reno, Reno Senior Center, Family Engagement Center; downtown Reno library; and the County Administrative Complex. Since that time, security services have expanded to add Our Place, Nevada Cares Campus, Safe Camp, daytime patrol, public meetings and special events at County facilities. Allied Universal also provided specialized coverage of numerous County locations during COVID-19 response, such as entry screening and vaccination clinics.

Through 2022, these services were provided under a joinder to the State of Nevada contract for security services. On April 11, 2022, the Washoe County Purchasing Division released a request for proposals to provide security services. Four proposals were received, and Allied Universal Security was found to be the lowest cost responsive, responsible bidder. The one-year contract was approved today for just over $4 million.  

5. Board approves grants to the Washoe County Library: County Commissioners approved the receipt of two grants from the Federal 2021 Library Services and Technology Act American Rescue Plan Act Grant-In-Aid Award Funds. The first is a $28,500 grant related to the development of digital collections in order to augment its Digital Library Collections to meet the pandemic-driven increase in demand from Washoe County residents.

The second grant is $73,000 to purchase modular office spaces to provide virtual workforce support for Washoe County Residents. These modular workspaces will be reservable and will provide additional options for virtual work in the library.  

6. Commissioners appoint members to boards and commissions:

  • Omer L. Rains to the Open Space and Regional Parks Commission. This commission is composed of nine members, all of whom are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Rains fills an unexpired term left open by Chris Nenzel, effective immediately and ending on June 30, 2025.  
  • MaryAnn McCauley representing District 5 on the Washoe County Senior Services Advisory Board. The term expires Aug. 31, 2025.