For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
Reno, Nevada. Feb. 14, 2017. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting.
1. Washoe County to review fees and charges. County Commissioners received a presentation from Budget Manager Mark Mathers regarding fees charged for certain County services. Washoe County receives approximately $61 million in user fees and charges, which is about 10 percent of the annual budget.
These fees include:
- Recorder fees, building permits, park and campground fees, animal licenses and copying fees
- Fees charged to agencies for services performed by the County, such as work by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office for other counties in Nevada and California, and incarceration charges for federal prisoners held in the County jail
- Franchise fees and surcharges such as E-911 fees, also known as Enhanced 911
Mathers said in some cases that it has been many years since the County last reviewed fees set by the Board. If fees do not keep up with the cost of services, tax revenues may have to be used to subsidize the costs of these user-funded services.
Commissioners directed staff to move forward on a comprehensive review of fees and agreed with staff’s recommendations for next steps. These next steps are to develop:
- A master fee schedule for the Board’s review during the budget process
- A timeline for review of County fees, with prioritization of development services, fees, franchise fees, and surcharges such as E911 fees
- Franchise fees
2. County Commissioners approve agreement to provide affordable housing. The Board of County Commissioners approved a 2017 Interlocal Cooperative Agreement that will provide affordable housing for clients of Social Services that are on a fixed or limited income. The agreement between the Housing Authority of the City of Reno and Washoe County Social Services provides up to 25 Project Based Vouchers to qualifying recipients. The vouchers will be used for Reno Housing Authority-owned properties.
Over the past several years, it’s been difficult for Social Services to secure affordable housing as the cost of rent continues to increase, however this agreement will help alleviate the problem.
“These vouchers will be given to select individuals, allowing them to live in permanent housing at a lower rate,” said Social Services Director Amber Howell. “This initiative is designed to decrease homelessness, avoid the separation of family members and give Washoe County citizens the opportunity to have stable, affordable housing.”
3. Grant accepted to assist people in transitional housing. Commissioners accepted a $32,606 grant from the State of Nevada Behavioral Health, Prevention, and Treatment program to assist clients who are moving from transitional housing to more permanent housing.
The grant money goes toward making sure the homeless receive access to housing, treatment and services that support recovery. Clients struggle with substance abuse disorders, serious mental illness, emotional disturbance, and co-occurring mental and substance disorders.
4. Commissioners approve agreement to help children with development disabilities. County Commissioners approved a $1,000,000 contract to support education and assist children with disabilities. The contract is between the State of Nevada Behavioral Department of Health and Human Services Aging and Disability Services Division and Washoe County. The contract will automatically renew on an annual basis unless either party opts out.
The grant allows the County a placement option for children with disabilities that would otherwise not have a place to receive help. The contract provided a significant service gap in our community by providing children with much-needed services and assists families with placements outside of the home until they can be returned successfully and then provided ongoing services.
5. Commissioners accept grant for nutritional meals for Washoe County seniors. County Commissioners accepted a $41,852 grant from the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division. The money will help pay for the cost of serving Washoe County seniors nutritious meals at senior centers and at home.
The grant is part of the Nutrition Services Incentive Program, which is an Older Americans Title III program. The past 16 years Senior Services has received federal grants to offset the cost of feeding seniors. The grant is awarded based on the number of meals served annually. More than 1,000 Washoe County seniors receive a free, nutritious meal every day from Washoe County Senior Services.