For Immediate Release
Reno, Nevada. Dec. 17, 2013. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17, and took action on items including: acknowledged completion of temporary management of Regional Animal Services by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and directed staff to explore new management opportunities; accepted the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District’s (TMFPD) Audited Financial Statements for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2013; approved a Partners in Education agreement with Glenn Duncan S.T.E.M. Academy; acknowledged receipt of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for Fiscal Year 2013-14 from the Government Finance Officers Association; accepted a presentation and update on the ‘Building a Smarter Region’ initiative, a collaborative effort that focuses on regional economic development; and adopted a Resolution of Recognition and Appreciation for Assistant County Manager John Berkich.
Regional Animal Services: Item 19. The Board acknowledged the completion of temporary management and oversight of Regional Animal Services by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and directed staff to initiate a process to determine its future status and place in Washoe County. The Sheriff’s Office assumed management and oversight of Regional Animal Services in January 2012 and has since implemented several programs that have increased efficiencies and public awareness of the department. The Sheriff’s Office now seeks to transition Regional Animal Services back under the organizational control and structure of the County. The Commissioners expressed support for holding public workshops on this issue and directed staff to return with an update in February 2014.
TMFPD and Sierra Fire Protection District (SFPD): Item 11. Acting as the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Board accepted the external audit of the TMFPD’s financial statements by Kafoury, Armstrong & Co. for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2013. The audit concludes TMFPD is financially sound due to the Board taking quick and decisive action to reduce expenditures in order to meet the challenges of the economic recession and the loss of $4.1 million in annual revenues. This was done without closing any fire stations. View the full agenda and audits of TMFPD and SFPD.
The Board also unanimously voted to have TMFPD Chief Charles Moore continue discussions with the City of Reno Fire Department regarding mutual aid. “Unquestionably there is a benefit for all agencies, so we need to move the discussion forward and we will be scheduling another meeting soon,” said Moore.
Moore also spoke about the many house fires that have occurred in the area in the past few weeks, including two recent house fires: a kitchen fire in Cold Springs and a fire and explosion at a house in Red Rock. "My heart is a little heavy this time of year because of the number of structure fires we’re seeing,” said Moore. “With 13 already this month, we remind everyone of the fire dangers this season can bring, from the improper disposal of ashes to cooking hazards in kitchens, and we ask all residents be extremely careful during the holidays.” TMFPD has also partnered with Carter Brothers Ace Hardware in Reno to provide residents with an opportunity to obtain an ash can for the proper disposal of fireplace ashes. These are available to the public free of charge if residents meet the criteria as listed on the application on the TMFPD website. There are a limited number of ash cans available that will be provided to qualifying residents on a first come, first serve basis.
Moore added that the District took delivery this morning of a new 4-wheel drive engine which will be based out of the Galena fire station. Another three new engines will be delivered soon and will be based at Cold Springs (Station 18), Stead (Station 13) and Damonte (Station 14).
Partnership with S.T.E.M. Academy: Item 6. The Board approved a partnership agreement between the County and the Glenn Duncan Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) Academy to formally become Partners in Education through the Education Alliance of Washoe County. More than 70 students and teachers from the school in Reno performed holiday carols Tuesday morning at the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting. Students and teachers walked a few blocks from the school on Montello St. with an honorary escort from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit to the Washoe County Administrative Complex. "What you saw today with our fourth and fifth graders was just a small example of the great things we are doing at Glenn Duncan,” said Dr. Susan Kehoe, Principal of the Academy. “Our staff and teachers are some of the best in the County and we are really looking forward to this partnership.” Through the partnership, County staff members will provide support for Glenn Duncan initiatives, such as mentoring opportunities, reading programs and the school/community garden. The school serves 450 students pre-K through fifth grade.
Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: Item 10.G.1. Washoe County received the distinguished Budget Presentation Award for Fiscal Year 2013-14 from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The County had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentations and the award reflects the County’s commitment to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. “It just goes to show that our finance group is one of the best,” said Commissioner Kitty Jung. “Throughout tough times and cutbacks, they still end up performing at an outstanding level.” This is the twelfth year Washoe County has received the award.
Building a Smarter Region’ initiative: Item 17. Commissioners were updated on the Smarter Regions initiative, which is a collaborative effort to boost economic development in Northern Nevada. Due to input from community stakeholders earlier this year, IBM’s initial Smarter Cities project was broadened into the ‘Smarter Region’ initiative. The presentation was given by Al Rogers, Division Director for the County’s Community Services Department who pointed out one of the main themes from the presentation which emphasizes that economic development knows no political boundaries and to be successful it needs to be regional. The next steps will include an update to the Board in the Spring of 2014 and continued work on the County’s economic development plan in conjunction with the ‘Smarter Regions’ initiative.
Recognition of John Berkich: Item 7. The Board adopted a Resolution of Recognition and Appreciation for John Berkich who will retire from the County on January 12, 2014. “It's been my pleasure to serve the Commission, the organization and the community as Assistant County Manager for ten years,” said Berkich. “Thanks to the leadership of the Board and some of the best talent in local government, Washoe County is strong, stable and working well with and for the community. Thank you for all your support.”