Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners meeting  

by | Sep 20, 2023

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

1. County manager unveils latest on regionalization of computer-aided dispatch: County Manager Eric Brown and I.T. Manager Quinn Korbulic presented an update on the efforts to implement a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD)and records management system (RMS) that will be used by all emergency response organizations in the region. The project is built on four pillars: governance, software, infrastructure, and project management.

I really want to thank my colleagues in Reno, Sparks, REMSA and the other public safety organizations that are participating in this process,” Brown said. “Continuing collaboration will ensure we achieve the best outcomes.” The project is further detailed in a video that can be viewed here.  

The 9-1-1 surcharge that is placed on all landline phone service accounts pays for the CAD, and the responding organizations – Washoe County, Reno, Sparks, REMSA – will share the costs of the RMS, charged proportionately according to their use. The total cost of the project is approximately $8.2 million.  

The Board approved the unified CAD/RMS agreement with the responding organizations, as well as a five-year contract with Hexagon for CAD/RMS software and implementation services. The next step will be to award a contract for project management in October and begin the dispatch regionalization this fall, to be completed in the spring of 2026.  

“I think this is a very smart and prudent way to move forward,” Chair Alexis Hill said. “This is a huge deal for our region. So many citizens don’t understand why sometimes 9-1-1 calls take longer than they should and hopefully this highlights that and shows that we’re proactively working to fix this and doing it in a regional way to make sure that everyone is included.”

2. Board votes to support Lands Bill: The Board voted to approve a resolution supporting the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act and to request Nevada’s federal congressional delegation to advance this federal public lands legislation to support conservation, recreation, and economic development in the Truckee Meadows region. Over the last year and a half, Sen. Jackie Rosen has conducted hundreds of meetings with stakeholders to develop the language and maps that were broadly shared with northern Nevada residents for feedback in the spring of this year.

The draft proposal makes specific parcels of federal land eligible for sale and subsequent development, as appropriate, to support sustainable growth in the region. The draft proposal includes 14,606 acres that would be eligible to be nominated for sale and lists the parcels. Revenue from the sale of these federal lands would be divided between the State of Nevada General Education Fund (5%), Truckee River conservation projects (10%), and a special account available to the Secretary of the Treasury (85%). This means that the proceeds from the sale of land in Washoe County will stay in Washoe County to benefit the residents here, rather than those funds going back to the U.S. Treasury.

3. Board approves ordinance to require disclosure by lobbyists: In April this year, the Board directed staff to draft an ordinance based on an example from the City of Reno that requires paid lobbyists to register and identify themselves. The ordinance language has gone through several revisions to refine the requirements and penalties. The ordinance approved today requires lobbyists to identify themselves as such when giving public comment in a Board of County Commissioners meeting. It also establishes civil penalties if the ordinance is violated. A field will be added to the public comment signup card where lobbyists will be required to identify themselves.

4. Commissioners appoint Gianna Jacks and Ann Silver to the Library Board of Trustees: Washoe County received 50 applications for two open seats on the Library Board of Trustees. The Board voted to narrow their selections to six finalists, and then voted again to select the top two applicants.

Jacks was appointed to fill a full-term vacancy, beginning October 2023 and ending June 30, 2027. Silver was appointed to fill a midterm vacancy, beginning October 2023 and ending June 30, 2026. 

5. Board approves $100,000 prize to work toward net-zero carbon emissions in Gerlach: Through the work of Washoe County’s new sustainability manager, Brian Beffort, the town of Gerlach won the Energizing Rural Communities Prize of $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy. This award program is meant to incentivize the development of clean energy projects in rural or remote areas of the United States and offers funding to kickstart development of clean energy projects. This project will assess needs, identify and evaluate resources, and put together a conceptual plan for a future renewable-energy system in the Gerlach area that is inspired by the people of Gerlach, informed by world-class energy expertise, and powered by cutting-edge technology.

“I know that Vice Chair Herman has been a part of the group working on this, and congratulations on that exciting grant to have reliable and sustainable power in Gerlach,” Chair Alexis Hill said. 

6. Emergency Manager provides update on regional strategic goals: Emergency Manager Kelly Echeverria provided an overview of the regional five-year strategic plan, integrated preparedness plan, and additional community efforts. The regional plan is designed to “promote a safer, more resilient region for our community through innovative and empowered partnerships in preparedness, planning, mitigation, response, and recovery.” She outlined several goals for the coming years, including improving the region’s Homeland Security Program, increasing a culture of preparedness, and maintaining annual accreditation requirements, among others. Echeverria also presented the Regional Integrated Preparedness Plan, which ensures that all jurisdictions in the region agree on priorities related to preparing for, mitigating, responding and recovering from disasters, both natural and manmade.

“I would like to commend you and the team. It’s really important to understand that preparedness take a lot of time, discussion, planning, practice, training, exercise and repeat,” Commissioner Clara Andriola said. “I think the relationships that this region has is to be commended by all because If a disaster does happen, it takes everyone knowing how to be ready and to execute whatever the disaster is.”

7. Board approve donations to Human Services Agency: Commissioners unanimously approved the following donations made to the Human Services Agency (HSA):

  • $20,000 from Grace Community Church for “welcome kits” that provide basic housing necessities, such as towels and bedding, to families in the Our Place family and maternity shelters. 
  • $50,000 from Stacie Mathewson, $5,000 from CLH1 LLC, $100 from Valerie Cooke, and $300 from the Washoe Masonic Lodge #35. Additionally Donated Juror Fees totaled just over $730, and miscellaneous individual donations of goods and totaled approximately $2,000.  
  • Approximately $20,000 to Senior Services, largely composed of the donation of cooling fans through the KOLO Senior Fan Donation Drive.

8. Board approves District Special Funds: The Board approved the allocation of District Special Funds to nonprofit organizations in districts 1 and 3, represented by Chair Alexis Hill and Commissioner Mariluz Garcia, respectively.

  • $5,000 to Amplify Life for programs for clients with disabilities 
  • $5,000 to the Tahoe Prosperity Center to support the 2023 Envision Tahoe Venture Summit 
  • $1,000 to the Reno Bike Project to support access to affordable recycled bikes 
  • $1,000 to the India Association of Northern Nevada to support the promoting of Indian culture creating a positive, enjoyable and nurturing friendships and the Dandiya Hahotsav event 
  • $5,000 to Be the Change Project to work with artists and kids to make murals and sculptures providing art to the community 
  • $5,000 to the Nevada Museum of Art to support the new Education and Research Center 
  • $5,000 to the Domestic Violence Resource Center to support their emergency shelter and transitional housing residents