Top 5 Items – Washoe County Commissioners’ Meeting Report from February 23

Washoe County Commissioners’ Meeting Report from February 23, 2016

For Immediate Release
Washoe County, Nevada

Contact: Chris Ciarlo

Top 5 things you need to know about the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting
Statistics show Alternative Sentencing Department is helping offenders and the community.

Reno, Nevada. Feb. 23, 2016. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Videos of County Commission meetings are replayed regularly on WCTV (Charter Ch. 193). You may also watch videos on-demand online.

1. Alternative Sentencing benefiting the community through thousands of hours of community service. Chief Joseph Ingraham of the Washoe County Alternative Sentencing Department gave the Board of County Commissioners an overview about the various services for offenders by Alternative Sentencing.

The mission of the Department of Alternative Sentencing is to increase safety in the community by reducing recidivism among criminal offenders through a rehabilitative environment that includes accountability for offenses, opportunities for gaining and applying life skills, and sanctions for regressive behaviors.

In 2015, more than 4,700 hours of community service were performed at Washoe County Parks, the Reno Livestock Events Center and several other non-profit organizations through several programs associated with the Alternative Sentencing Dept.

Chief Ingraham said Alternative Sentencing helps put together case plans for those who are given a suspended sentence, residential confinement or pre-trial release conditions.

Ingraham said Alternative Sentencing does the following:

  • Creates a safer community by holding offenders accountable for their behavior and equipping them for reintroduction success.
  • Provides resources to enable the probationers to make better choices to improve their lives. This significantly impacts their families, keeps them in their jobs and homes.
  • Creates revenue rather than expense to the county by fee collections and providing an alternative to housing at the county jail.

“This is not a job to me, this is what I do,” Chief Ingraham said. “I absolutely love what I do and the people I work with.”

Due to Alternative Sentencing’s recent success in helping offenders, Ingraham said caseload for Alternative Sentencing has increased 149 percent since July 2013.

“I’ve toured Crossroads facilities and what a great program,” said Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung. “Every single person you guys keep from the jail, we save a minimum of $110 a day. I can’t say thank you enough for all that you do.”

2. Truckee Meadows and Sierra Fire Protection District merger expected to save tax payers thousands of dollars. County Commissioners held an introduction and first reading of an ordinance providing for the full consideration of the protests of the consolidation of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) and Sierra Fire Protection District (SFPD) into one fire protection district.

The merging of two fire districts discontinues the need for two audits and financial statements, saving taxpayers an estimated $26,000 a year. There will also be significant savings in staff time and the preparation of two budgets.

“This action is consistent with the direction of the Board of Fire Commissioners and ensures that the fire district operates in the most efficient, cost-effect way. This merger goes a long way in doing just that,” said TMFPD Fire Chief Charles Moore.

3. Commission District Special Funds given to Glenn Duncan Library, Lake Tahoe projects and the WC Senior Center. County Commissioners approved Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler’s $20,000 Commission District 1 Special Fund Grant for the Tahoe Prosperity Center and the Friends of the Library.

Half of the grant money will be used to pay for materials, supplies and other resources for the Glenn Duncan S.T.E.M. Academy Library.

The other half of the grant will help the Tahoe Prosperity Center carry out its mission to provide a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Lake Tahoe. Funds will be used to support work in the Washoe County portion of Lake Tahoe.

Commission District Special Funds were approved in February to allow County Commissioners to use special funding outside the budget to support the needs of Washoe County residents. Each County Commissioner has $20,000 to spend. Funds appropriated through the Commission District Special Funds must provide substantial benefit to residents of Washoe County. Grant recipients must be a non-profit organization, created for religious, charitable or educational purposes, or a government entity.

County Commissioners also approved Commissioner Vaughn Hartung’s Commission District 4 Special Fund grants to help support and enhance the programs and activities offered at the Sparks Senior Center.

A portion of the $4,000 grant will also go toward the Washoe County Sparks and Spanish Springs branch libraries.

4. County Commissioners accept grants to serve seniors nutritious meals. County Commissioners accepted a $44,041 grant from the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division for programs to help seniors. The grant is part of the Nutrition Services Incentive Program, which is one of the Older Americans Title III programs that serve seniors. The grant goes toward serving seniors healthy, nutritious meals at senior centers and delivers them through the Meals on Wheels Program. More than 1,000 Washoe County seniors receive a free, nutritious meal every day from Senior Services.

County Commissioners also approved a $10,320 grant for The Emergency Food Assistance Program from the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Washoe County Senior Services has operated The Emergency Food Assistance Program since 2009. Since then, the Nevada Department of Agriculture has been helping fund the program.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides emergency food to low-income seniors every other month for free.

5. Washoe County Regional Animal Services receives donations for the safety and welfare of local animals. On behalf of Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS), County Commissioners accepted $6,540 in donations retroactively for the period of Oct. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2015. The money has and will continue to be used for the humane care and treatment of sick and/or injured, stray, abandoned, or at risk animals.

“Animal Services appreciates the generous donations from the public to help support the animals in need within our community,” said Washoe County Regional Animal Services Director Shyanne Schull.

All photos from Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meetings can be seen online.

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