Top 5 things you need to know about the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting
VIDEO: Commissioners approve school financing question for November ballot & more

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Joshua Andreasen

Reno, Nevada. March 22, 2016. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Videos of County Commission meetings are replayed regularly on WCTV (Charter Ch. 193). You may also watch videos on-demand online.

Watch: Highlights from the March 22 meeting

1. School financing question to be put on General Election ballot.

The Board of County Commissioners voted to approve the 2016 School Financing Election Resolution at Tuesday’s meeting. The Board’s approval means a question will be put on the General Election Ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, asking Washoe County voters if they want to pay certain taxes for school financing.

The Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee was created to address overcrowding and repair needs in the Washoe County School District. After months of deliberation, the Committee unanimously voted to recommend a 0.54 percent sales tax increase on Washoe County retailers to help pay for the revamping of Washoe County School District schools. After the Committee adopted its recommendation on March 4, 2016, it asked the Board of County Commissioners to place the question on the ballot.

The Chair of the Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee, Shaun Carey, gave an overview of the work of the committee and the importance of having safe schools for the 64,000 students in Washoe County.

“I want to thank Commissioner Berkbigler, Shaun Carey and the business leaders for their roles on the Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee,” Board of County Commissioners Chair Kitty Jung said. “This very important decision is in the hands of Washoe County voters. As we approach the need for school financing, I think the voters have the information they need to make a decision for the good of Washoe County and the children in the Washoe County School District.”

2. Commissioners direct staff to formulate new Waste Management contract to include single stream recycling.

Commissioners received an update from Waste Management and directed staff to formulate an updated Garbage Franchise Agreement contract for the unincorporated areas of Washoe County. The contract will be brought to a future Board meeting and will require board approval. 

Among the updates discussed include provisions on single-stream recycling and bear-proof containers. More information on the proposal can be found here.

The original agreement with Waste Management (formerly Independent Sanitation) began on Dec. 31, 1982. The existing Garbage Franchise Agreement between Washoe County and Waste Management was approved on November 29, 2000 and was renewed at their option on December 12, 2015, for another five years. 

3. Commissioners introduce change to Washoe County sign ordinance.

County Commissioners acknowledged a report from the Washoe County Planning Commission on potential changes to Development Code, Chapter 110, for signs. The Commission voted to introduce the proposed amendments and to hold a second reading for a meeting scheduled for April 12, 2016. Commissioners approved 4 to 1 (Herman dissent).

The Washoe County Community Services Department has been working on changes to the sign code for more than two and a half years. The Washoe County Planning Commission has been involved in the update along with outreach to the community.

Commissioners appointed a Sign Code Working Group to go over how changes to the code will affect the public and local businesses.

“I really want to thank the industry and the advocacy group for coming together on this,” Jung said. “As policy makers, we make much better policy when we can work together. It’s a model for how things are done correctly.”

The changes to the proposed sign code were done to simplify the code and combine billboard code with sign code. Part of this process is to distinguish the difference between on-premise and off-premise signage (billboards).

There is also updated code on:

  • Signs for elections
  • Real estate signs
  • Digital signs
  • Sign lighting standards
  • Temporary and mobile signs

Background for each of those subjects can be found in this document.

4. Commissioners approve North Valleys Regional Park improvements, including new athletic fields.

The Board approved a $2.2 million North Valleys Regional Park Phase Five Project Funding Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Reno and Washoe County.  

The City of Reno has agreed to pay $1 million of the project through Residential Construction Tax. Washoe County will pay $1.2 million, which is funded by proceeds from the Sierra Sage Golf Course.

Funding for the North Valleys Regional Park Phase Five Project will pay for construction of athletic fields, parking, landscaping, utilities and reclaimed water infrastructure improvements.

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

5. Presentation by the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office highlights services.

District Attorney Christopher Hicks presented an overview of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office to the Commission and highlighted several new programs to assist victims and improve services. The 177 employees of the District Attorney’s Office contribute to the mission of the office each day, which is to ensure justice and protect the welfare of the County and its citizens.

Watch: Video of how the District Attorney's Office impacts citizens

The criminal division prosecutes every felony and gross misdemeanor that occurs throughout all of Washoe County and all misdemeanors that occur outside the city limits of Reno and Sparks. The civil division is the law firm for the County and represents the Board of County Commissioners and each of the County’s 24 departments, providing expertise in open meeting law, property law, water law and a range of other specialties.

Programs such as Paws for Love and an early intervention process for domestic violence cases are also designed to minimize the trauma on victims throughout the prosecution of cases.

“The office is focused on protecting victims of crime, particularly children,” Hicks said. “The Washoe County Child Advocacy Center continues to revolutionize the investigation and prosecution of cases involving children.  It is my goal to make an office that this entire community can be proud of."


Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »