Highlights from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting
County Commissioners discuss proposal to extend congested area.

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo

Reno, Nevada. June 28, 2016. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Videos of County Commission meetings are replayed regularly on WCTV (Charter Ch. 193). You may also watch videos on-demand online.

1. County Commission introduces proposed changes to congested area boundaries. Commissioners held a first reading of a proposed amendment to extend the boundaries of Washoe County congested areas in the Truckee Meadows, including Peavine Mountain. Chapter 50 of the Washoe County Code (public peace, safety, and morals) is being updated.

The proposed County Code amendment will extend the boundary of the Washoe County congested area where the uncontrolled discharge of firearms is not permitted because it could cause a greater risk to the public recreating in the area. Due to increased construction activity, annexations by the City of Reno, and implementation of planned outdoor recreation trails and roadways, the current congested area boundary needs to be updated.

Along with the change in the congested area boundary it is important that the Washoe County citizens and visitors take steps while recreating to be as safe as possible. It is not only incumbent on shooters to make sure that while shooting they are in a legal area, precautions must be taken by all people using the outdoors so nobody is unintentionally harmed. Information on shooting regulations can be found on the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office website.

“We need to enforce the importance of safety  for those recreating on Peavine. Our area is growing and times are changing, so those in the Peavine area need to change with the times and be more aware of their surroundings. I will support this proposed ordinance when the time comes to do so,” said Washoe County Commission Chair Kitty Jung (Dist. 3).

A public hearing for the second reading and adoption of the ordinance regarding congested area boundaries in the Truckee Meadows is scheduled for July 12, 2016.

This item supports the County Commission's Strategic Plan to support safe, secure and healthy communities.

2. Commission Chair Jung dedicates Commission District Special Funds for County parks, the Peavine Mountain Congested Area Plan and programs for seniors. County Commissioners approved a total of $20,000 for Commission District 3 to be used for the following:

Peavine Mountain Congested Area Plan ($3,000)

The congested area maps will be revised and the Community Services Department has hired a firm to conduct a land survey to possibly reconfigure the current congested area.

Washoe County Regional Parks ($500)

The Commission District Special Fund grant was also used to help pay for healthy snacks and water to give the public during the day of the re-opening of the Rancho San Rafael Park multi-use pasture.

Sanford Center for Aging ($7,000)

The funds will be used to help the Sanford Center for Aging promote several programs across Nevada. The Sanford Center for Aging translates research regarding aging and helps educate the elderly through community outreach.

Center for Health Aging ($9,500)

Washoe County is partnering with the Center for Healthy Aging (CHA) to identify County employees who have caregiver responsibilities. CHA, among several other projects, will implement a pilot service program with County employees that have elder care responsibilities and track its impact.

At the February 10, 2015, Board of County Commissioners meeting, County Commissioners adopted a resolution creating County Commission District Special Funds. Commission District Special Funds are available to each Commissioner to use in a way that benefits the residents of Washoe County.

3. Board of County Commissioners approves agreement to operate the Community Assistance Center for the homeless. County Commissioners approved the $2,020,856 Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the cities of Reno and Sparks for the operation of the Community Assistance Center (CAC). A portion of the money will go toward the addition of new programming to support the year-round overflow shelter, providing a place for the homeless to stay year-round while also providing case management to support individualized needs which increases funding from $1.9 million a year to $2.6 million.

In addition to the recently approved funding for the CAC, Washoe County pays for three full-time case management positions at the shelter. 

Washoe County Adult Social Services is a participating agency at the CAC and provides services to assist individuals who are homeless with resources and case management in conjunction with all Washoe County indigent services totaling more than $25 million annually.

The CAC provides a men’s, women’s and family shelter. The CAC served more than 2,500 people during the past fiscal year.

4. Funding approved to help children and parents in Child Protective Services pay for living expenses. The Board approved $472,650 to help parents and children in Child Protective Services pay for home repairs, rental assistance, utility bills, food and other living expenses. The money will also pay for Christmas and Thanksgiving meals and presents for children, as well as adoption day activities. Adoption days are held four times throughout the year to celebrate the finalization of family’s adoptions before the court. Many who have been involved in bringing a family together gather to witness this final, joyous step to child permanency.

“The thoughtfulness and generosity of the flexibility of these funds not only help families when they need it the most but also helps us to recognize celebrations and the importance of holidays that otherwise might not be special,” Washoe County Children’s Division Director for Social Services Alice LeDesma said. “These families especially enjoy the excitement of holiday meals and presents and their families are deeply appreciative of the help during a sometimes stressful time of the year.”

5. Pretrial Services Program says re-arrest rate is low.  Pretrial Services Program Manager Heather Condon gave a presentation about several recent improvements and highlighted a statewide initiative to implement a risk assessment tool. 

Pretrial Services began in Washoe County in 1983. The office strives to keep our community safe while respecting the rights of the accused. Pretrial Services interviews recently-booked defendants to determine if they are low-risk and can be released on their own recognizance. The Assessment Pretrial team provides timely, unbiased reports to the presiding judicial authority so he/she can make sound release decisions for qualified defendants, allowing them to maintain life commitments while out of custody. 

According to Condon, demand has increased along with the County’s population. Currently, there are three locations that serve the citizens of Washoe County; the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), Sparks Justice Court (SJC) and the Second Judicial District Court (SJDC). 

In August 2015, the Nevada Supreme Court initiated a committee to study and implement a validated risk assessment tool, which is an evidence-based tool that predicts failure to appear and re-offense. A new tool, Nevada Pretrial Risk Assessment (NPR), was adopted on May 23, 2016. In addition, Washoe County was chosen as a pilot site, one of three throughout the state, to launch the tool in September.

Numbers to Know

  • Interviews between 1,600-1,800 defendants each month
  • Supervises on average nearly 1,000 defendants at a time
  • Failure-to-Appear rate is less than 10 percent
  • Re-arrest rate ranges from 3-5 percent

“I’d like to congratulate the Second Judicial District Court and those working with the Pretrial Services Program for doing such a wonderful job with resources available to you,” Washoe County Commissioner (District. 2) Bob Lucey said. “The new risk assessment tools that you have implemented have been phenomenal and will continue to save taxpayers money.”

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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 »