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Commissioners approved fire station consolidation and heard preliminary 2021 budget outlook

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
aventetuolo@washoecounty.us
775.328.2070

Reno, Nev. Jan. 21, 2020. The following report highlights several important agenda items from both the Washoe County Board of Fire Commissioners and the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meetings, as both boards are comprised of the same elected officials:

1. Board of Fire Commissioners approved TMFPD fire station consolidation. The Board of Fire Commissioners approved Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District’s (TMFPD) deployment plan, which includes the consolidation of Fire Station 30 (Bowers Mansion) and Fire Station 32 (Eastlake) into a single fire station serving the Washoe Valley community. The decision comes after an in-depth analysis showing 75 percent of TMFPD incidents occur in the northern portion (north of I-80) of the Fire District compared to 25 percent in the southern portion (south of I-80). Combined, these two stations run an average of 1.25 calls per day, with Station 30 (Bowers) running a fraction more than one call every other day. 

Consolidating the two fire stations will allow for a single crew of four firefighters, a base for a REMSA ambulance and helipad, and potentially a Washoe County Sheriff’s substation.

The consolidation of fire stations will allow the Fire District to move some personnel to the north district where response times are high – and within a few years – will allow the District to convert the volunteer fire stations at Silver Lake and Lemmon Valley into career stations that will be staffed 24/7.  It will also result in a savings of $1.2 million dollars per year.

Using data for calls occurring between 2015 and 2018, TMFPD undertook an analysis on how TM Fire Stations are geographically positioned relative to service demand and response time.  The findings of the study have led a plan to rebalance resources to those areas of higher service demand and where population growth is expected to occur, while maintaining a high level of response in all areas of the Fire District. 

A new fire station in Washoe Valley is expected to be operational in 2022. Stations 30 and 32 will remain fully operational until the new station opens.

2. Purchase of TMFPD Fire Engines approved. The Board of Fire Commissioners approved the purchase of five Type 1 structure fire engines through Superior Equipment for a total cost of $3,495,000. To ensure a high level of fire and rescue response with a modern fleet of fire engines, the Fire District is committed to replacing 50 percent if its fleet every five to seven years. The District attempts to keep engines in front line service for 10 years, followed by five years of reserve, or backup service. This practice also ensures that the District has a healthy fleet of reserve fire engines when the need arises.

Dale.jpg3. Fire Commissioners approved new Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention. The Board approved the appointment and employment agreement of Dale Way (pictured left) as the next Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. Chief Way was the Deputy Fire Marshall at the City of North Las Vegas where he commanded all aspects of the City’s fire prevention division. Chief Way has several certifications from the International Code Council and Nevada State Fire Marshal. He is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist and a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator. 

 

4. Commissioners received presentation on preliminary financial outlook for FY 2021. Commissioners heard a presentation which included a FY 2020 mid-year budget review, and a preliminary financial outlook for FY 2021 budget.

FY 2020 Mid-Year Review. The FY 2020 General Fund budget is more than $363 million with property tax and consolidated tax making up 82 percent of the General Fund revenue.  Currently, the 2020 year-to-date actual revenues and expenditures, verses what was budgeted, are tracking as expected.

Preliminary 2021 Financial Outlook. The current economic outlook, both nationally and regionally, is for a stable but slower growth. Various national economic sources cite economic growth to remain in the 2 percent range with low interest rates, strong employment and housing, but potential slowing due to trade issues and the upcoming 2020 election. From a regional perspective, development, employment, and housing are still exhibiting growth and provide indicators for a stable but slower growth outlook.

The FY 2021 preliminary budget is balanced, with a small amount for contingency and unknown fiscal impacts.  Property and consolidated taxes have taken more than a decade to recover from the economic downturn.  The abated amount of General Fund property tax revenue, which represents property tax revenue not received by Washoe County between 2005 through 2020, totals $232 million.  

Other revenues are relatively stable but are not keeping up with inflation.  General Fund known cost increases of $11.6 million, which include regular merit increases and cost of living adjustments for all county employees, contractual obligations, debt service and support to other funds, are included in the preliminary budget. The FY 2021 unknown impacts and emerging issues include pending litigation, 2019 legislative impacts, technology updates, operating program expansions and departmental requests.   Additionally, capital improvement requests for FY 2021 total $33 million.  Long-term sustainable revenue sources are needed to finance future major capital projects.

With a stable outlook, Washoe County and the budget team are dedicated to producing a structurally balanced general fund budget for FY 2021, in keeping with Washoe County’s fiscally conservative practices. The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to hold a public hearing to adopt a final budget on May 19, 2020, with the submission of the final budget to the state by June 1, 2020.

“I’ve had the privilege to review a lot of municipal budgets in my experience, and since being selected as County Manager, I’ve been studying previous year’s budgets at Washoe County,” said Eric Brown, Washoe County Manager. “I had the opportunity to work with the team on today’s presentation, and I want to commend this Board for the fiscal discipline and financial stewardship this county has taken. Since my arrival, I’ve been impressed by the financial team here and the work they do – while it’s never perfect, we’re in good hands.”

5. Commissioners directed Special District Funds. The Board of County Commissioners has approved special district funds disbursement for Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler in the amount of $11,200 to the Incline Village General Improvement District to purchase animal restraint trash and recycle containers. 

6. Board of County Commissioners accepted multiple donations:

 

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