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Commissioners review proposed budget, approve recruitment plan for County Manager and more

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
aventetuolo@washoecounty.us
775.328.2070

Reno, Nev. April 23, 2019. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting:

1. Board of County Commissioners provide direction for recommended FY2020 budget. Commissioners heard a presentation on the recommended FY2020 budget, which included a structurally balanced budget, new positions and major capital improvement projects.

2020 Budget Outlook. The total Washoe County budget for all funds is $710 million, of this the General Fund budget is $362 million. The proposed FY2020 budget illustrates revenues will cover expenses resulting in a structurally balanced budget. 

New positions recommended. From Fiscal Year 2006 through Fiscal Year 2019, the number of full-time employees at Washoe County has decreased by 7.9 percent. During this same period, the county’s population has grown by 17.9 percent. In recent years the county has not had the financial resources to hire additional employees requested by departments to meet increased demands for services and new programs. While the county has become more efficient with service delivery through technology, organizational restructuring and process improvements, the need for additional staffing has become more crucial. The FY2020 county budget recommends adding 53.8 new positions to meet the needs of our growing region.

Major capital and utilities improvements funding. The FY2020 recommended budget for major capital improvement projects totals $141.5 million. Major projects include $11 million for the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) Campus project, $49 million for the South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility Expansion project, almost $5 million for various Parks and Open Space projects, and over $9 million for Roads projects and Equipment fleet.

 “I want to thank you for the extra positions at the Sheriff’s Office and throughout the county,” said Chair Vaughn Hartung, “it is difficult because our budget still is flat, we are slowly climbing our way out.”

Washoe County is committed to fiscal sustainability as a strategic priority. The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to adopt a final budget on May 21, 2019.

2. Commissioners discuss recruitment plan for new County Manager. Commissioners heard recommendations from Human Resources for recruitment plans with three options. After discussion, Commissioners gave direction to purse Option 1a which is a recruitment conducted by Human Resources staff. The option also allows Washoe County Human Resources the ability to immediately contract the services of an executive recruitment firm, in the event the Board does not a select a candidate after the initial recruitment. The advantage of this option is that county staff could immediately seek out an executive firm without waiting for Board direction.

Under this direction, recruitment for the new Washoe County Manager will open today, April 23, 2019, and close on May 7, 2019.

3. Commissioners approve funding for Community Triage Center. Commissioners approved $190,000 in funding to support the operation of a 20-bed Community Triage Center. The center will be located at 335 Record St., in Reno, to help those in need of psychiatric services, medical and social detoxification from alcohol or other substances and possible disorders. The center will be available to those 18 and older who are not in need of emergency room care.

“The Triage Center will divert those in need of emergency attention and resources from local emergency rooms and jails,” said Human Services Agency Director Amber Howell. “This is a much more cost-effective model that will not only help the aforementioned but also provide immediate assistance for those in need who are dealing with a crisis. I am so proud of our partners for joining with Washoe County to provide a solution that will provide a safer, more secure and healthy community for us all.”

4. Commissioners receive an update on the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Regional Detention Facility. Commissioners heard a presentation and update on the Third Quarter Status Report for the Washoe County Regional Detention Facility including security of the jail, conditions of confinement, staffing and medical care of inmates from Captain Jeff Clark of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO).

Population. Inmate population continues to grow, in relation to growth of the community, in March 2019 the inmate daily population was 1,121, an increase over the historical average and above the upper range compared to multi-year averages. Despite the increase in population, the WCSO reports a decrease in bookings, releases and visitations, “We believe our bookings are down because of the initiatives we are creating and you are supporting,” said Captain Jeff Clark.

Healthcare. The Washoe County Regional Detention Facility healthcare provider is NaphCare, who has become a strategic partner in developing innovative programs and initiating progressive treatments for the addicted population. WCSO and NaphCare have instituted a multitude of checks and balances to ensure the jail population is receiving quality medical care and were recently audited for accreditation by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). This report will be provided to Commissioners upon delivery, the initial report was exceptional with a couple minor corrections.

5. Commissioners approve funding for additional improvements in Lemmon Valley. Commissioners approved $210,909 for the temporary flood mitigation system to protect residential homes most vulnerable to immediate water elevation increases surrounding Swan Lake.

Additionally, Commissioners approved $289,982 for the Lemmon Valley Estates Drainage Channel Improvements Projects to re-establish proper alignment and stabilization of the drainage channel located within a utility and drainage easement behind the homes located on E. Patrician Drive in Lemmon Valley. 

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