Washoe County Announcement

Top headlines to know from Board of County Commissioners meeting
Social Services undergoes name change to reflect breadth of services to public

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
aventetuolo@washoecounty.us
775.328.2070

Reno, Nev. Aug. 8, 2017. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting.

1. Washoe County merges Social Services Department and Senior Services Department into one agency to maximize funding, service and resources to better serve citizens. In an effort to be more cost-effective and streamline several critical services for citizens, the Board approved the merger of the Washoe County Departments of Social and Senior Services into one, unified agency called the Washoe County Human Services Agency (HSA).

HSA provides services and assistance to residents across the continuum of care for children, adults and senior citizens. Services offered to Washoe County’s most vulnerable populations will be seamless, whether the need be shelter, nutrition, case management, medical, legal, counseling or other supportive services.

"The creation of the Washoe County Human Services Agency supports the Commission's goal to provide a safe, secure and healthy community for all of our citizens and in this case, especially our most vulnerable," said Washoe County Commission Chairman Bob Lucey.

“Several of the needs and services within Social Services and Senior Services are quite similar, which is why the County believes it is best if the departments consolidate,” Human Services Agency Director, Amber Howell said. “One of the benefits of HSA is that it will allow clients to receive services without being placed in a different department based on age. HSA will now be a one stop department that offers something for people in all stages of life.”

The Human Services Agency is comprised of three divisions: Children’s Services, Adult Services, and Senior Services.

2.  County Commissioners approve $2.4M in funding to provide shelter for the homeless. The Board approved the FY 17/18 Interlocal Cooperative Agreement between the City of Reno, Washoe County and the City of Sparks in the amount of $2,418,189 to operate the Community Assistance Center (CAC) and other vital homeless support services.

The newly formed Washoe County Human Services Agency is a participating agency at the CAC, providing services to assist individuals who are homeless with resources and case management. The CAC provides a men’s, women’s and family shelter, serving more than 2,500 people a year.

Learn more about the CAC.

3. Board of County Commissioners approve a vendor for new voting machines. The Board unanimously approved the purchase of voting system hardware and software for the Registrar of Voters Office from Dominion Voting Systems, with a total contract amount of $4,219,100. On May 23, 2017, the Board approved the FY 2018-2022 Capital Improvements Plan. This included $1,896,125 in FY 2018 for the Voting Equipment Replacement project.

The total purchase price for new voting equipment and software is $4,219,100. The Legislature approved a $1,700,000 appropriation to Washoe County to assist with the purchase of new voting equipment. This funding will be distributed through the Secretary of State and will be available during this fiscal year. This lowers the total cost to the County for purchase of the updated equipment to $2,519,100. The initial $1,896,125 is to be disbursed in fiscal year 2018 and the remaining $622,975 in fiscal year 2019.

4. Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner presents 2016 Annual Report. Commissioners acknowledge receipt of Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s 2016 Annual Report detailing data, a year in review and presentation.  The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office provides critical services in northern Nevada and 17 additional surrounding counties. In 2016 the office was in receipt of 1,320 bodies and performed over 800 toxicology tests, and 34 organ and 78 tissue donations. In addition, the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office opened a new, state-of-the-art facility in January of 2017 to better serve the broad range of communities which utilize services.

“Congratulations on the great work you’ve done here,” says Commissioner Kitty Jung. “I am pleased to see that we improved that old parking lot with the new Regional Medical Examiner building, and I believe we have enhanced the safety of the neighborhood and the safety of the public on this campus along with it, thank you.” 

5. Commissioners approve grant to fund DNA criminalists and sexual assault kit testing. Commissioners approved a $1,641,617.00 grant from the Nevada Office of the Attorney General to hire an additional six full time DNA Criminalists for one year as well as a laboratory remodel to accommodate the new DNA Criminalists, and costs associated with the testing of sexual assault kits collected from January 2015 through June 2019.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division is expected to receive an additional 350 sexual assault kits a year for DNA testing with the recent passage of AB 97, requiring DNA testing to be completed within 120 days from receipt into the laboratory. With current staffing levels, Forensic Science Division would not be able to meet these requirements without additional funding.

“We’ve come a long way; this was a great collaboration for the Attorney General’s Office, the Legislature and the counties,” says John Slaughter, County Manager. “While we are pleased that this one-year grant is approved, we need to immediately begin working on permanent funding.”

6. Commissioners direct Special District Funds. The Board of County Commissioners have approved Special District Funds disbursement for Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler in the amount of $3,000 grant to Northern Nevada Literacy Council (NNLC) to sponsor one student to obtain their Certificate of High School Equivalency.

 ###