The following are highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting:
1. Board approves resolution of intent to transfer Wildcreek Golf Course to First Tee: Washoe County Commissioners approved a resolution declaring the county’s intent to transfer Wildcreek Golf Course to Northern Nevada Youth Golf Foundation, dba First Tee of Northern Nevada. The resolution sets a date for a public hearing. If ultimately approved, First Tee would be required to operate the golf course for charitable or civic purposes for the community. This means that the entirety of the property be used for golf and golf-related activities, including the course, pro shop, food and beverage, driving range, putting green, event space, and everything that takes place on the property. This also means that the course must be made available to the public at a cost less than private golf courses in Washoe County, and must always be used as a golf course.
“If First Tee is no longer able to perform the service or chooses not to, they cannot sublet that property and it would come back to Washoe County,” Assistant County Manager Dave Solaro said as he explained the next steps for the property. A public hearing will be planned later this fall.
2. Amendment to Sierra View Library Branch lease approved: The Sierra View Library Branch has been located at the Reno Town Mall since 1987 and is well used by residents. In today’s action, the Board approved an amendment to the lease between Roter Investments L.P. and Washoe County to continue occupancy for a five-year term valued at just over $891,000.
Roter has been supportive and generous with Washoe County, providing donations to cover the base rent at the Sierra View Branch, allowing the library to continue to operate at this popular location and expand operating hours. The lease amendment approved today includes a commitment to replace the carpet at the library with the cost shared by Roter and Washoe County. Roter will replace the carpets while Washoe County will be responsible for moving furniture and furnishings, up to $160,000. Any expenses over that amount will be shared equally by Roter and Washoe County.
3. Board awarded bid for ADA improvements at South Valleys Regional Park: In July 2021, the county issued an invitation to bid for Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to the South Valleys Regional Park. No bids were received, so county staff requested bids from several contractors, with only one bid received. The bid from Facilities Management Inc. totals $134,000 and will address accessibility barriers at the park. The Board approved the bid in today’s meeting.
4. COVID-19 Incident Commander presented update on pandemic in Washoe County: Assistant County Manager Dave Solaro, the regional COVID-19 incident commander, presented a status report on COVID-19 in Washoe County. Since Solaro’s last update on August 16, the COVID case rate per 100,000 has doubled, and the test positivity rate has increased from 18.4 percent to 20.1 percent. Among the Incident Management Team’s objectives is to reduce the test positivity rate to under 5 percent. Active cases a month ago were just over 3,100; today there are almost 9,000 active cases in Washoe County.
Medical resources are a top concern, and the Nevada Hospital Association tracks essential COVID resources such as personal protective equipment, supplies, ventilators, staffing, percentage of patients with COVID, percentage of ICU patients with COVID, hospital occupancy and ICU occupancy. A month ago, all resources except ICU occupancy were at a “no concern” level. Today staffing is at alert status, percentage of hospital patients with COVID is at the warning stage, and hospital and ICU occupancy is at the watch level.
“Being vaccinated, I’m not concerned about going to the hospital with COVID. What I’m concerned about is getting into a car accident on my way home from work, and there’s no where for me to go because the emergency rooms are jammed with people with COVID or other ailments in our community and it’s clogging up our system,” Solaro said.
5. Board approves grant to Sheriff’s Office to cover costs of Joining Forces program: The Nevada Department of Public Safety awarded a $96,000 grant to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to cover overtime costs related to the regional Joining Forces program. This program conducts traffic enforcement checkpoints throughout the federal fiscal year, October 2021 through September 2022.
6. Human Services Agency receives numerous grants for children, family, and foster care services: The Board accepted $255,000 from the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program, a subgrant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services, to support youth who are aging out of the foster care system. Washoe County Human Services Agency (HSA) has received support from the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program since 2013. The funds will be used for case management, to provide education advocacy and tutoring to improve education outcomes for youths in foster care, and to support an active and involved youth advisory board in Washoe County.
The board accepted other grants for HSA, including nearly $50,000 for Family Support Services, $55,000 for Family Reunification Services, $62,000 for Family Preservation Services, and $125,000 for Adoption Promotion and Support Services.
7. Board approved employee Health Benefits Program for 2022: Every year, the Insurance Negotiations Committee (INC) recommends changes to employee benefits – medical, dental, vision, and life insurance – to control costs to the county while providing valuable benefits to employees. The calendar year 2022 Health Benefits Program for employees, retirees, and their dependents is valued at an approximate annual cost of $57.8 million.
The INC did not recommend benefit changes to any of the three types of health plans offered: HMO, self-funded PPO and self-funded HDHP, or to the self-funded dental plan. The INC did recommend benefit enhancements to the self-funded vision plan which includes increased frame allowances and primary eyecare. The Board approved the CY2022 plan as presented.