Carson City supervisors discuss cellular service rules

Carson City, Nevada city hall

Carson City, Nevada city hall

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday took steps to regulate equipment needed to bring the next generation of cellular service to Carson City.

Service providers are looking to place so-called small cell equipment, which is much smaller than current gear, on city-owned rights of way such as street lamps and traffic light poles. The infrastructure provides a transition between existing 4G service, which it supports, and the next generation faster service called 5G.

The board approved a business impact statement and heard on first reading an ordinance, and discussed work on a city policy and master license agreement to bring back later for approval after more work is done on them.

The main point of discussion was on the application fee service providers will pay. Equipment installation will be permitted through Community Development like other building permits.

Federal regulation sets the fee at $500 unless costs above that can be demonstrated. Staff requested a fee of $1,400 per application as part of the license agreement based on calculations of staff time and related costs.

Dan Stucky, deputy director, Public Works, said service providers told staff that applications in other parts of the country average $600-800. Reno, which has already implemented fees, charged $1,297 in its 2018 fiscal year, said Stucky.

The city policy, which will come back later for a vote, will address some of the city’s concerns about the equipment.

“The city wants to promote the technology while protecting the aesthetics of the city,” said Stucky, particularly the downtown area where all utilities are now required to be placed underground.

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding between Carson City, Storey County and Truckee Meadows Water Authority concerning negotiations over water from the state-run Marlette Lake Water System.

Storey County relies on Marlette Lake water. Carson City currently uses water from there to recharge groundwater and has a new permit to use it in river water wells, said Eddy Quaglieri, water utility manager. The city is also planning to upgrade Quill Water Treatment Plant so it can treat water from the Marlette system to drinking water quality.

Carson City’s agreement for the water expired and TMWA began talking to the state about taking some of the water to make up the shortfall. The Nevada Legislature stepped in, allocating $200,000 to the system to make up the difference in order for the three parties — Carson City, Storey County and TMWA — to come to an agreement on sharing the resource.

The MOU, already approved by the other signers, sets the parameters for the parties to come to an agreement on the water within two years.

Emergency Services Consulting International presented the fire department’s draft master plan. The plan makes recommendations, including in the short term switching the ambulance service to city-employed civilian personnel rather than firefighters and in the long term adding two fire stations to reduce service response times.

The board requested the plan’s final draft include a chart, or menu, of all the recommendations and their associated costs or savings in order for the board to decide on which ones to implement.

And the supervisors received an update on the city’s coronavirus response, a standing item at each meeting.

In the two weeks between Aug. 16-29, 120 COVID-19 cases were reported in the quad county area, including 37 in Carson City, which is half the number reported the previous two weeks, said Jeanne Freeman with the emergency operations center. She said 38 percent of those cases reported going to work when they felt sick before they tested positive,

“If you’re sick, don’t go to school. If you’re sick, don’t go to work,” said Freeman. “We are concerned about the upcoming Labor Day weekend. We don’t want to see a repeat of the 4th of July. If you feel off, don’t go.”

Sheri Russell, chief financial officer, said the city’s sales tax continued to outperform expectations, increasing 22 percent in June, while gas tax revenue dropped 10 percent.


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