Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners meeting

by | May 14, 2024

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

1. Board hears update on Nevada Housing Coalition and housing in Washoe County: Maurice Page, executive director of the Nevada Housing Coalition, presented an overview of the Nevada Housing Coalition and its findings on the need for affordable housing in Washoe County.

“In recent years, the county of Washoe has taken proactive steps to tackle the affordability issues in the community recognizing the challenges faced by many Washoe residents,” Page said. “I would first like to commend the county commissioners for their focus and determination to make things better for those suffering from the housing shortage.” 

Page noted a comparison of average salaries versus average cost of housing in Washoe County. For example, a retail salesperson averages around $31,000 per year, but the minimum income to afford a studio apartment is $42,000.  

Today’s presentation dovetailed with yesterday’s Community Homelessness Advisory Board (CHAB) meeting where the CHAB received a briefing on the need for permanent supportive and affordable housing in Washoe County as a means to address homelessness. CHAB also received the Community Needs Assessment, which concludes that regionally, the Cities and Washoe County need to build 652 affordable homes, fund operating and rental subsidies for 3,184 households, provide supportive services for 1,305 households experiencing homelessness, and address racial disparities for the BIPOC populations that are over-represented in the homelessness system.  

“We are starting to see people who are working who are showing up at the shelters because they are priced out of housing,” County Manager Eric Brown said. “It is not a static situation and one we cannot ignore.”

2. Board certifies Canvass of the Vote for special election: Voters in the Palomino Valley General Improvement District (PVGID) successfully petitioned to hold a special election to recall Trustee Thomas Baker. The election was held May 4, with the recall effort prevailing. By state law, the Board of County Commissioners must certify the canvass, which is a formal review of the election.

3. Board appoints residents to various boards and commissions: The Board of County Commissioners appointed members to the following board and commission:

  • Rob Pierce was reappointed to his seat on the Board of Adjustment to represent Commission District 5, which generally includes areas of Verdi, North Valleys, Cold Springs, Warm Springs, portions of Sun Valley and all of the High Desert Planning Area. His term will run through June 30, 2028. 
  • Amy Owens was appointed to the Planning Commission to represent Commission District 3, which generally includes portions of Panther Valley, Sun Valley, Sparks and downtown Reno. Her four-year term will begin July 1, 2024.  

4. Commissioners allocated District Special Funds: County Commissioners have proposed allocations from their respective District Special Funds to support nonprofit organizations in the region:

  • $3,000 from District 2 to FIRST Nevada to support its Clawbotics robotic team. 
  • $5,000 from District 3 to JUSTinHope Foundation to support families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  
  • $5,000 from District 3 to Note-Able Music Therapy Services for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities through a range of adaptive and neurologic musical therapy services. 
  • $2,500 from District 5 to the Circle of Life Hospice Foundation to provide a positive alternative for individuals unable to die at home, while providing physical, social, emotional, and spiritual care.  
  • $2,500 from District 5 to the Great Basin Chaplain Corps to support its mission of providing support and comfort in times of grief, trauma, and loss. 

5. Board honors National Police Week and Peace Officer Memorial Day: The Board was joined by Sheriff Darin Balaam and members of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to declare May 12-18 as National Police Week and today, May 14, as Peace Officer Memorial Day.

“Thank you on behalf of all the men and women in law enforcement for attending our memorials over the last week,” Balaam said. “Thank you for recognizing all those brave men and women serving our community.” 

6. Board declares May International Internal Audit Awareness Month: Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. Internal auditors are explorers, analysts, problem solvers, reporters, and trusted advisors. The Board joined internal auditors and supporters across America to declare May as International Internal Audit Awareness Month.