For Immediate Release
Contact: Joshua Andreasen
Reno, Nev. March 27, 2018. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting.
1. Commissioners took first steps toward permanent marijuana regulations. Commissioners heard three items regarding marijuana including an update addressing general marijuana regulations from a state and local level and a first reading of regulations related to licensing.
The proposed code amendments allow Washoe County to collect a 3 percent fee when licensing marijuana establishments.
Vice-Chair Kitty Jung said, “It’s important that this funding should be captured in a cost center separate from the general fund which can be used as directed by Commissioners. We should not put the cart before the horse, we need to see what funding may be needed for education, enforcement and other aspects in the community where we may see impact.”
The hearing is the first in the adoption process for local regulations. Code amendment process includes two public hearings before the Board of County Commissioners. A second reading and adoption is scheduled for April 10 with board approval. The codes will be enacted April 20, 2018.
2. Commissioners approve 911 surcharge to fund body cameras for law enforcement. In the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 176 (SB 176) passed, requiring uniformed peace officers employed by a law enforcement agency to wear a portable recording device, or body cameras. SB 176 also allowed use of the 911 telephone line surcharge to be used for the purchase and maintenance of both wearable and vehicle mounted recording devices.
SB 176 allows Commissioners to increase fees to cover costs of body cams up to $1 per local phone, or landlines, and mobile phone lines per month, and up to $10 per trunk line service per month.
Commissioners approved the following fee increases:
• Phone line of local telecommunications provider from 25¢ per month for each line, to 85¢ per month for each line.
• Mobile telephone service from 25¢ per month for each line, to 85¢ per month for each line.
• Trunk telephone line service from $2.50 per month for each line, to $8.50 per month for each line.
The additional 60¢ increase isn’t just for body cameras as the fee increase will allow for additional funding to go toward dispatch. Commissioners approved the required ordinance changes to increase the associated E-911 fee surcharges are for the final adoption. Fees will increase beginning May 1, 2018.
3. Commissioners sponsor amendment to allow for one of the largest solar energy storage facilities in U.S. Washoe County continued its support for renewable energy projects by sponsoring an amendment to the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan that, if approved, will pave the way for construction of a 200 megawatt (MW) solar energy center northwest of Wadsworth, Nevada. Known as Dodge Flat Solar, the project includes approximately 1,200 acres of photovoltaic solar fields, a 200 MW energy storage system, substation and associated facilities.
Commissioner Bob Lucey said, “When we talk about energy here in the desert, we have natural resources such as wind and solar power, and 300 days of sunshine a year. It makes a whole lot of sense to do solar power here.”
The project will connect to an existing high voltage transmission corridor and facilitate grid reliability during times of peak demand. The facility will augment northern Nevada’s renewable power supply, and is anticipated to produce approximately 500,000 MW-hours annually. At build-out, Dodge Flat Solar is expected to be the largest solar energy storage facility in the United States. The next steps include the project going before the Regional Planning Commission in May.
“This is one of the largest solar energy storage facility projects of its kind in the nation. I want to thank Commissioner Hartung, the County Manager, the planning staff from Washoe County and all of the people who helped bring this project to this point,” said John Berkich, a consultant for Nextera Energy.
4. Commissioners approve grant to help with the healing and recovery of crime victims. Commissioners accepted a $600,000 FY18 Supplemental Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) sub-grant award from the State of Nevada, Division of Child and Family Services for the Human Services Agency (HSA).
The VOCA grant helps with activities and costs related to the emotional healing and recovery of crime victims. In addition the grant will support the security and safety for the victim that will assist them in order to reduce the severity of the psychological consequences of the victimization to heal and rebuild the stabilization of their lives.
“We are so grateful to continue our partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, who continues to support our mission and provide us resources and funding to respond to these children and families. We are grateful for their trust in us to implement programs that help reduce and respond to victims of trauma,” said HSA Director Amber Howell.
5. Commissioners approve donation from Burning Man organization. The Board accepted Burning Man donations of $2,500.00 for Gerlach Fire Department personnel training and staffing costs for volunteer firefighters/EMS to attend the annual Rural EMS Conference.
Vice-Chair Kitty Jung said, “We accept this generous donation from Burning Man, and we appreciate it, as its one of our largest events in Northern Nevada.