A high sierra environment, Washoe County benefits from a variety of flora including pine trees
A high sierra environment, Washoe County benefits from a variety of flora including pine trees
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Commissioners held public discussion on Regional Fire Services.
Media Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Leuenhagen

Reno, Nevada. April 8, 2014. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 8, and highlights included: a lengthy public discussion regarding regional fire services; adopted second reading of an ordinance amending the Washoe County Code for the operation of medical marijuana establishments; received a presentation on the options for management of any public lands transferred from the federal government to the State of Nevada; and proclaimed April 6-12 as National Volunteer Week, April 13-19 as National Library Week, April 14-20 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, April 2014 as Nevada Hispanic Safety Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Regional Fire Services Discussion: Items 12 on Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) & 19. The Board held a lengthy public discussion on the future of regional fire services in Washoe County that could possibly include the City of Reno and other government entities. “Let me just assure concerned citizens it was never our intention to turn our fire department over to the City of Reno,” said Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler, District 1, regarding two meetings she and Chairman David Humke recently attended with City of Reno officials. “Conversations are necessary because our priorities for TMFPD are that we are financially sustainable, and that we are protecting all the people in our community.” In addition to public comment, the Board also discussed the recent work of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Regional Fire which they appointed in June 2013 to study and provide complete and unbiased information to the public to support informed decision-making for any type of regional fire services. “We have a lot of interim steps to go,” said Chairman Humke. “First, we need to negotiate an automatic aid agreement, and second, we need to see the results of the Blue Ribbon Committee report.” Commissioners said they will continue to meet informally with other elected officials on this and other issues that come up as necessary.

Managing Public Lands: Item 13.  Mike Baughman of Intertech Services Corporation, in conjunction with the Nevada Land Management Task Force, presented recent data on the options for management of any public lands transferred from the federal government to the State of Nevada under Assembly Bill 227, which became law last year. The Task Force is made up of a representative from each of Nevada’s 17 counties. Commissioner Vaughn Hartung, District 4, represents Washoe County. “This is a fairly lengthy process with a lot of information to digest,” said Hartung. “We have to be cognizant all along the way of any costs, so we appreciate the data Mr. Baughman is supplying.” The Task Force will deliver a report to the Legislative Commission by Sept. 1, 2014, with recommendations on how to best to transfer control of public lands. See more information on the Task Force.

Medical Marijuana Ordinance: Item 30. Commissioners held the second reading and adopted the ordinance amending the Washoe County Code to provide for limited exemption of certain acts from criminal prosecution and for the licensing and land use authorization required to operate medical marijuana establishments. This would include dispensaries, cultivation facilities, testing laboratories, and production facilities which are registered and permitted by Nevada under NRS Chapter 453A. The ordinance is the first step of implementation of medical marijuana establishments in Washoe County. The County is currently on track with the State’s schedule to allow the establishments to open as soon as the State process is complete. The Nevada Medical Marijuana Act, which is State Bill 374, was enacted by the 2013 Nevada Legislature.

Proclamations & a Resolution: Items 6-10. Commissioners proclaimed April 6-12 as National Volunteer Week and recognized more than 75 volunteers who were able to attend the meeting. The volunteers ranged from those who give their time to help inmates at the Washoe County Jail, to the libraries, animal services, senior services and the fire district. The County had 6,836 volunteers perform over 62,223 reported hours of volunteer service in 2013, which represents an estimated dollar value of over $1,180,381 and also included 836 first-time volunteers. See the photo.

Commissioners proclaimed April 2014 as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and urged all citizens to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in the community. Commissioner Kitty Jung, District 3, introduced Kelsey Sweet, a multiple-genre artist who will perform her interpretive depiction of being a victim and survivor of sexual violence at The Potentialist Workshop in Reno this week. “I’ve been inspired by experiences and traumatic events,” said Sweet, “and I just twisted them into something more metaphorical.” Proceeds will benefit CAAW and Safe Embrace. production, “Open JAR: A Potentialist Romance…Almost,” starts April 10. See more information about Sweet and performance times.

Commissioners proclaimed April 13-19 as National Library Week and urged all residents of the Truckee Meadows to take advantage of the resources available to them at any Washoe County Library as well as at the Washoe County Law Library.

Commissioners proclaimed April 14-20 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. Washoe County Communication Specialists are the lifeblood of information for more than 500 public safety personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The 21 Communications Specialists and four Supervisors who serve at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center handle more than 150,000 calls for service each year, covering an area of approximately 6,700 square miles with more than 110,000 residents.

Commissioners also proclaimed April 2014 as Nevada Hispanic Safety Month. With an increase in the Hispanic workforce in Nevada, the safety and well-being of the workforce is a priority of Washoe County, and educational safety training is important for a safe working environment. Bilingual safety training will be beneficial to further educate the culturally expanding citizenry of the state and the County.