The following are highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting:

1. Commissioners affirmed direction of Washoe County Strategic Plan: The Board of County Commissioners received an update on the key elements of the FY22 Strategic Plan. The agenda item did not require a formal vote, but Commissioners affirmed staff’s direction on the plan.

  • Fiscal Sustainability: Washoe County recognizes the importance of sustainable fiscal planning, accountability and transparency in the management of public funds, assets, programs and services.
  • Economic Impacts: Be responsive and proactive to economic impacts.
  • Vulnerable Populations: Identify and triage the most vulnerable population as identified by community need and work together cross-departmentally and regionally to provide adequate resources and support.
  • Innovative Services: Washoe County employees working together to innovate public service and improve community outcomes.

Read the full presentation here.

2. Contract awarded to Aspen Developers Corp for improvements to Washoe County Regional Shooting Facility: The Board of County Commissioners awarded a contract for improvements to the county’s 530-acre shooting facility located in Palomino Valley. Aspen Developers Corp submitted the lowest bid at $138,000 to complete the parking lot, access road, and drainage improvements. In approving the contract, the Board also approved two bid alternates totaling just over $29,000 and a continency fund of $25,000. The total project will cost just over $192,000 and will be paid with an in-kind/cash matching grant from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and $85,160 from Washoe County.

NDOW uses the facility for its Hunter Education Program and supports shooting and archery facilities through federal subgrants. In addition to improvements to the shooting facility, the full scope of this subgrant includes a master plan for the Regional Archery Facility and additional improvements to the containment berms and indoor classroom that are already complete or in progress.

3. Board conducted a public hearing on a water rights lease to Sky Tavern: The Sky Tavern is a nonprofit corporation that operates a Junior Ski Program. It intends to install snow-making infrastructure to improve its program. Washoe County and City of Reno each own one-half interest in the Browns Creek Degree water right, and snow-making is an allowable use of this water right.

Nevada Revised Statute requires at least one public hearing when a public body is considering selling or leasing water rights. Commissioners conducted this public hearing today and approved the lease of the water rights to Sky Tavern. Washoe County staff research shows that this lease is: consistent with “prudent, long-term management of the water resources,” will not deprive residents or businesses reasonable access to water, the lease is a reasonable means of promoting development, and the county will receive the actual value of the water right.

“I see this as somewhat non-consumptive, the making of snow and the water goes right back into the ground, so I would move to adopt this resolution,” Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said.

4. Regional Information Center presented an overview of its pandemic messaging campaigns: The Regional Information Center (RIC) is a collaboration between Washoe County, City of Reno, City of Sparks, and the Washoe County Health District, with support from the region’s 22-member Joint Information Center that was established at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Washoe County Communications Director Nancy Leuenhagen presented an overview of the RIC efforts.

The RIC created a website in March 2020 to disseminate vital information for residents, and to present a unified method of communication across jurisdictions. The website has received 2.1 million page views over the past year. The RIC launched a new Twitter account, which has more than 4.500 followers and received 5.5 million impressions.

The RIC also worked with local PR agency KPS3 and a national marketing firm, BVK, to create an educational campaign targeted at high-risk populations in the community. The campaign, called Mask On. Move On., was created in English and Spanish and has evolved over the course of the pandemic to address vaccinations and other COVID-related information.

“Bravo to all of the partners in this effort,” Commissioner Alexis Hill said. “Information was so vital at the beginning of the pandemic, and so vital to make sure the information was correct, and now to continue that effort to push vaccines and masking up.”