Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners meeting

by | May 21, 2024

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

1. Board approves FY25 budget: The Board of County Commissioners approved the annual budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2024. Budget Director Lori Cooke presented the budget, which was built according to the Board’s budget priorities established in October 2023: serving seniors, mental health and capital improvement projects/infrastructure.

The $1.12 billion budget comprises 29 funds, including the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, Capital Projects Funds, and the Debt Service Fund. Washoe County policy is to maintain an unassigned fund balance of 10-17 percent and is estimated to be around 18.9 percent at June 30, 2024.  

The tentative budget was reviewed by the Board at the April 16 meeting, and the Finance team worked the Board’s feedback into the final budget that was presented today. Once approved, the budget becomes a financial plan and operations guide for the coming fiscal year and is only amendable per NRS/NAC requirements. 

“I want to make sure that this Board understands that we really appreciate the departments, the employees, all the various budget teams that helped us craft this budget,” Assistant County Manager Dave Solaro said. “This really is an across-the-organization effort to get to the place where we’re at, to really have this maintenance budget and still be able to be responsive to our citizens. There are some challenges ahead with requests we get, but the departments are looking forward to being creative on how we provide those services to the community.” 

2. Board approves lease for new location for Men’s CrossRoads: The Board approved an 11-year lease with IRG Plaza, LLC to move the Men’s CrossRoads program to a new location on W. 5th Street in Reno. The Board also approved an amendment to contract with Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE) to serve as the program operator. Men’s CrossRoads provides an alcohol- and drug-free living arrangement for men transitioning out of homelessness. Participants in the program receive several supportive services to sustain a successful transition from substance abuse and homelessness to a productive, independent, and fulfilling lifestyle.

“This is a very exciting day because we’ve been wanting to move this program into a new facility,” Chair Alexis Hill said. “We are so proud of our Men’s CrossRoads program.”

3. Board approves donations to county programs and departments: The Board voted unanimously to approve the following donations:

4. Board proclaims May as Treatment Court Month: The Reno Justice Court operates four treatment courts serving 260 participants last year. The Board of County Commissioners presented a proclamation to court representatives declaring May as Treatment Court Month. The proclamation notes that treatment courts significantly improve treatment outcomes, reduce addiction, and reduce crime, all at a lesser expense than any other criminal justice strategy.

Washoe County recently featured Judge Scott Pearson, Probation Officer Mark Wickman, and a graduate of a treatment court on two episodes of the Washoe Life podcast. Listen to a first-person account of the impact that treatment court can have in changing lives in Washoe County.  

“Therapeutic courts are the cornerstone of helping people rise out of substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health challenges,” Assistant Court Administrator Jeremy Wilson said. “Our court is committed to diverting criminogenic risk with this population and increasing their stability within this community both from a public safety standpoint as well as helping them free themselves from their afflictions of addiction.”  

5. Board appoints members to Nevada Local Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council: The Board appointed Clinton Hohenstein and James Phoenix to serve partial two-year terms on the Nevada Local Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council (NLJRCC).

The NLJRCC advises and assists the Nevada Sentencing Commission in making data-driven policy recommendations to Nevada’s Legislature by providing input on and recommendations regarding various criminal justice issues and matters that are important at the local level.