Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners Meeting

by | Apr 26, 2023

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

1. Board votes to formally recognize Tahoe Transportation Plan: Using a combination of data collection, agency coordination, and community engagement, Washoe County has developed a Tahoe Transportation Plan, which was formally recognized as a guiding document with actionable solutions to transportation issues in the Incline Village area. The plan includes recommendations related to local/regional trip reduction programs, multimodal accommodations, transit service, parking, intersection safety, snow removal, State Route 28 (SR 28), and technology. The document concludes with an overview of funding sources available for various types of improvements, along with recommendations for implementation timeframes and responsibilities.

“Community engagement in the Tahoe area, specific to transportation issues were very important. We knew that on the onset,” Assistant County Manager Dave Solaro said. “So we wanted to identify all the transportation needs from the community and develop recommendations along the pertinent corridors.

“I commend your work and our multi-jurisdictional team,” Chair Alexis Hill said. “Hearing from more than 200 community members is incredible, and I’m excited to do the work to move forward.” 

2. Board approves opioid settlement agreements: As part of the One Nevada Agreement in opioid litigation, the Board approved the latest agreements between the State of Nevada and CVS Pharmacies and drug manufacturer Allergan. While Washoe County has committed to the One Nevada Agreement in July 2021, the Board of County Commissioners must approve each settlement with the State of Nevada. The most recent agreement was with Walmart in the amount of just over $32 million, approved in February of this year.

The settlement with Allergan is $26.5 million and will be paid in equal installments over seven years beginning this year. Washoe County’s portion of the settlement is approximately $1.1 million. The settlement with CVS is more than $151 million and will be paid in equal installments over 10 years beginning this year. Washoe County will receive approximately $7.3 million of that amount.

3. Board reaffirms approval of contract for review of election operations: After the 2022 election, Washoe County received feedback from the public, county staff and Board of County Commission on inefficiencies in the election process and reporting. Additionally, the Board of County Commissioners discussed the election process at their January Strategic Planning Workshop. At the direction of the Board, County Manager Eric Brown took steps to identify and retain an outside third party to conduct an independent evaluation of the 2022 General Election operations. The Board provided specific directions on the elements of the Scope of Work and directed staff to include public input in the evaluation process. 

The Board of County Commissioners originally voted on the contract in March, but the vote resulted in a tie. The contract was again presented at the April 11, 2023, meeting and passed 4-1. However, in accordance with Commission rules, it was permitted to be called for reconsideration, returning it to the Board at today’s meeting. 

The $100,000 contract for phase 1 was awarded to The Elections Group and includes identifying, codifying and implementing best elections practices, including software and reporting implementation, staffing levels and positions, and best practices for the upcoming 2024 and subsequent elections.  

4. Board approves FY23 Community Support Grants: The Board approved a total of $100,000 in Community Support Grants to support local community-based providers that address diverse health and human service needs in the community or contribute to economic development and quality of life issues. The grants include:

  • $20,000 to the Silver State Fair Housing Council, a nonprofit that works to ensure equal housing opportunity for all residents of northern Nevada. Washoe County has provided funding to SSFHC since 1998; 
  • $10,000 to the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation to support Confluence, an artwork made of texts running along pedestrian ways of Reno, threading a stream of words and thoughts about water leading to and along the Truckee River; 
  • $10,000 to the Gerlach General Improvement District for the restoration of the historic Water Tower built in 1909 by the Utah Construction Company under contract to the Western Pacific Railroad Company. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and is a stop on the Washoe ArTrail. The grant funds would be utilized along with community funds to hire a specialized contractor, replace rotted redwood timber, and support necessary rehabilitation. 
  • $50,000 to Artown over two years to support the month-long summer arts festival that features nearly 500 events at more than 130 locations countywide. 

5. Commissioners vote to accept Incline Village High School Resource Officer’s Grant: The Board approved a $2.7 million grant from Dave and Cheryl Duffield that will be used to pay for two full-time deputy sheriffs and two vehicles for Incline Village High School. The additional deputy sheriffs at the high school will support the current law enforcement presence of the one officer, provided by the Washoe County School District Police Department.

6. Board approves a three-year sponsorship of the Great Reno Balloon Race: The Great Reno Balloon Race (GRBR) is the largest free balloon event in the world that attracts more than 100,000 visitors to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park every September. The Board approved a three-year sponsorship agreement to include waiver of park facility rental fees and recognition of Washoe County as a major event sponsor.

7. Board declares April Fair Housing Month and declares this week National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: The Board of County Commissioners recognize important issues and causes with proclamations that bring awareness to them. Today the Board read a proclamation declaring April Fair Housing Month. This month marks the 55th anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act, which provides equal opportunity for all Americans in the sale, rental, and financing of housing and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin.

The Board also proclaimed this week National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a recognition brought forward by the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office. In 2022, there were 2,739 violent crimes reported in Washoe County and 5,937 property crimes. In the wake of all those cases are crime victims who have suffered emotionally, physically, and financially due to the actions of a criminal.