The Board of Supervisors Thursday voted to reinstate a traffic enforcement program that was dropped in 2011 due to budget cuts.
The lone no vote was cast by Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who said she supported the program, but that ongoing programs with recurring costs should be approved only during the annual budget process.
Nancy Paulson, interim city manager, said the Carson City Sheriff’s Office had proposed restarting the program in the last budget cycle but was told to hold off until the city had an idea how much money would come in from the tax on recreational marijuana, which is now bringing in $300,000 more annually than the city had projected.
The enforcement program approved by the supervisors will include enforcement and education, add two deputies and a support specialist, all full-time, and cost $267,826.46 annually.
Since the initial program was canceled in 2011, traffic accidents have increased by 66 percent and driving under the influence, or DUIs, have nearly doubled, according to the sheriff’s office.
All the supervisors agreed ongoing budget expenses should normally be scrutinized during the budget process, but the enforcement program warranted a rare exception.
“This has been put off, and this is a health, safety and wellness issue,” said Supervisor Karen Abowd.
The board also gave its OK to all staff-recommended corrections to the Carson City Lands Bill, which must be submitted for congressional approval.
The Open Space Advisory Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission during a joint meeting last month voted to send seven of the eight proposed changes to the board while directing staff to do more research on one property that received a lot of public interest.
That property is 17.45 acres of vacant land east of Edmonds Drive at Bennett Avenue. The four parcels surrounded by residential development was long the property of the Bureau of Land Management, which transferred it to Carson City for possible open space or recreation use. The city has determined it’s not suited for either purpose, but is restricted to those uses by the agreement, so staff proposed returning it to the BLM, which can sell it for development. It’s zoned single-family one acre.
Nearby residents oppose the plan to develop it and city staff looked further into the cost of retaining it and its possible use for storm drainage. According to staff, the property would cost $7,000 every three to five years for fuels reduction work and between $3,000 and $50,000 to conduct a cultural/historic evaluation as required by law.
Additionally, the site is only suitable for a small retention basin, which would provide flood mitigation only for the surrounding properties, said Dan Stucky, city engineer.
The supervisors voted to submit corrections on the first seven properties by unanimous vote, and voted 4-1 on changes to the 17.45 acres with Supervisor John Barrette voting no.
The other seven properties changes are transferring 39 acres adjacent to Silver Saddle Ranch from BLM to Carson City for open space; removing restrictions from 73.25 acres north of Arrowhead Drive and transferring ownership to the Carson City Airport as a buffer and for safety, and as a mill site for Cinderlite Trucking Corp.; BLM disposing of 27.56 acres east of Edmonds Drive, between Sinbad Street and Valley View Drive, for residential development; the city acquiring about 39 acres off Goni Road from the BLM, and another roughly 180 acres adjacent to Powerline Road and Conestoga Drive, for stormwater control and flood mitigation; removing restrictions on 10 acres near Pete Livermore Sports Complex to be used for future school site or other purpose; and removing restrictions on 3.25 acres on Pinion Hills Drive to sell at auction.
The board also heard on first reading an ordinance to repeal an inactive program for assistance with sewer and water fees to senior citizens and replace it with an assistance program for all ages based on income and funded through ratepayer donations.
Those property owners earning 200 percent of the poverty level will be able to apply for and receive assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. Ratepayers will be able to donate to the Utility Rate Assistance Program, or URAP, via the city website, through their utility invoice, or by sending a check designated for URAP to the city’s Treasurer’s office.
The board also accepted the canvass of the 2018 general election. There were 13 fleeing voters, meaning voters who signed in and received a ballot but didn’t cast it, and one absentee ballot was counted twice, which didn’t affect the outcome of any race, said Sue Merriwether, Clerk-Recorder.