Storey looks at closing fire station |

Storey looks at closing fire station

by F.T. Norton

A fire station at the Reno Tahoe Industrial Park in Lockwood may close as Storey County fire officials seek to do their part in cutting 20 percent out of the county’s budget.

Fire Chief Gary Hames said Thursday that Station 5, opened 16 months ago and staffed by a full-time captain and paramedic/firefighter, could be on the chopping block, as well as 12 reserve firefighter positions and five other full-time slots.

Hames said a division chief also will be demoted to captain to meet the budget cuts.

“Unfortunately these are our recommendations,” said Hames.

Several weeks ago Storey County Manager Pat Whitten directed city departments to present the city with budget cuts of 5, 10 and 20 percent.

Hames said although

20-percent cuts are the worst-case scenario, it seems to be the only viable scenario.

“Quite frankly it’s a case of, ‘It is what it is,'” he said.

“We know property taxes are going to be down, we know large companies are going through the process of requesting to have their properties reappraised. We’ve lost four key companies in that community. It’s the perfect financial storm,” he said.

Hames said he will try to find work in other jurisdictions for three of the full-time employees that may be laid off, and two of the employees will pick up seasonal work with other jurisdictions.

“This is the most miserable, difficult thing a fire chief would have to do. But we can’t change things. We can’t give IOUs. If the money’s not there you can’t spend the money,” he said. “We owe that to our taxpayers.”

Hames said the cuts have yet to be approved by the Storey Board of County Commission-ers. The next meeting will be Feb. 2.