County approves $ 28 million for construction and operation of Cares campus


County commissioners today approved $ 40 million in federal funds to pay for a long list of projects, including $ 26 million for improvements and construction of the Nevada Cares campus.

The money comes from federal coronavirus funds given to the county. The funds will be used to pay for the construction of the Cares campus, improvements to the Our Place women’s and children’s shelter, new sheriff’s assistants, court upgrades and renovations, and technology improvements to the health district.

“We spend money like drunken sailors,” Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said before voting to approve the spending. “There are very critical needs here, there is no doubt about it. It’s scary for me – again I’m grateful because there are real needs here that we aren’t able to meet in other ways, but it scares me. “

County staff said the money is to be allocated by December 2024 and must be spent by December 2026. The positions created by the funds will only exist for two years, or the county will have to find. funds to pay posts beyond 24 months. .

“The proposed projects fall under the eligible uses of the American Rescue Plan Act (and the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund), include a proposed implementation process, and have compliance and regulatory requirements. extensive reporting, ”county staff said.

Other commissioners said they were nervous about the amount of money, but said the projects and staff were also desperately needed.

Maskless commissioners said masks were still needed

Washoe County Commission Chairman Bob Lucey surrenders mask-less at the December 14, 2021 meeting.

Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Bob Lucey, as well as many public commentators, were not wearing masks during today’s meeting, although masks are mandatory in public buildings.

But Deputy County Director Dave Solaro provided an update on COVID-19 saying masks are still needed inside public buildings.

“In areas of substantial or high transmission, where Washoe County is above high transmission, masks [have to] be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status, ”Solaro said.

For a county to no longer be held to the governor’s mask mandate, which is based on figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission of COVID-19 must be less than a certain number of cases for two weeks before the warrant is lifted.

“I think it should be the individual’s decision,” Lucey said of wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. “We can’t do the testing in a timely fashion. [Gov. Sisolak’s] the mask mandate is his mask mandate, but I choose not to follow it and I won’t because I don’t feel like it really meets my needs or those of my family.

Herman agreed.

A county spokesperson said security hired did not apply masks in county commission rooms.

Commissioners also voted to end the county’s declaration of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic, which the county instituted in March 2020. The declaration allowed the county to purchase materials and supplies for the pandemic and the financing of treatment spaces in hospitals.

Canceling the declaration does not cancel Sisolak’s mandates.

Other commission

Provided by Washoe County staff and edited by This Is Reno.

Public registration fees

At the County Commissioners Council meeting on October 12, 2021, a fee schedule for public document requests was discussed and staff were asked to conduct more specific research on the actual cost of responding to those requests. . Today’s presentation to the Board of Directors outlined the cost of time and staff resources assigned to respond to requests for public records, as well as fee exemptions. The previous proposal defined the “true cost” of staff time as anything that exceeds two hours to respond to a request, to be billed at the rate of the position assigned to respond to it.

Today’s proposal provides for an ongoing fee waiver for up to 10 hours of work time, bringing it in line with some other Nevada government entities. The proposal also sets a flat hourly rate for staff time, waiving any actual cost for hourly rates above the flat rate. The resolution only applies to county departments that are not under the leadership of elected officials.

County director gets positive opinion, increases

Eric Brown, Washoe County Director

The commissioners discussed the performance appraisal of County Director Eric Brown, unanimously agreeing to increase his salary by 10% and offer a 5% bonus. President Lucey noted that his entry salary was low because, although he had extensive managerial experience, he lacked experience in municipal administration. Brown’s contract was also extended for a year, ending in November 2024.

“I see this as a calling,” Brown said. “This has been a collection of my life’s experiences and education in technology, customer service, marketing, healthcare, and public health that have brought me to this place. I look forward to continuing to serve you and the communities you serve.

Lease approved for Our Story Inc. to use county property

Our Story Inc. is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and presenting the history, heritage, culture and achievements of underserved communities in northern Nevada. Through a five-year rental agreement approved today by the County Commissioners Council, Our Story Inc. will use the garage structure at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Reno for a museum exhibit showcasing the efforts of volunteer firefighters. of Black Springs.

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