TMFPD challenged by increasing demand

Note: material provided by Tom Daly.  Fire news links


Rapidly increasing demand for fire and emergency medical services (EMS) and longer than desired response times in Northern Nevada’s Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD), including obligations to respond outside of the District pursuant to automatic and mutual aid agreements , will result in the need by FY2021 for new fire stations and crews or the addition of staff and vehicles at existing stations, where they can be accommodated.


  • TMFPD has not added a new station since 2012 but call volume has increased 33%.
  • The total district response time is now longer than the 8 minutes considered the maximum to respond to a heart attack or to prevent flash-over of a fire to another building.
  • The majority of the increased demand comes from the North Valleys, but there are only four fire stations there compared to five serving the South Valleys.


  1. Build a new fire station to meet the demand.  This would cost roughly $6.5M to build and equip a new station not including labor costs of roughly $1.2M per year to staff.  It would take about 3 years to build and staff.
  2. Add crews to existing fire stations to increase the capability to respond.  This is the least expensive approach and can be implemented quickly.  The drawback is that it does not provide improved geographical coverage, so the northern most neighborhoods would still have long wait times.
  3. Convert an existing volunteer station in the North Valleys to a regular, professional station.  There are 3 volunteer stations that are candidates for this conversion.  Some expansion of such a volunteer station would be necessary to house a full-time crew (est. $950k).
  4. Relocate the crew from station 44 (Silver Lake/Stead) to one of the volunteer stations.  TMFPD station 44 is now within the city limits of Reno as a result of annexation.  Proceeds from the sale of the station property could partially offset the capital costs of expanding the volunteer station.

Longer term:

  • Increased staffing is probably covered by the existing 2021 budget as tax revenues increase with demand (development).
  • FEMA would likely provide 65% of the funding for the first two years and 35% in years 3-9 through a SAFER grant.  FEMA funding may also be available to partly offset the purchase of the new vehicles required.
  • TMFPD would plan to continue to use volunteer stations as “force multipliers”.

It is time to decide and act to bring the TMFPD capability up to meet the increasing demand.

Open the complete document here:



County Commission Meeting 5/28/19


Possible North Valleys reservoir location to store wastewater (blue outline)

  • [Reno-Stead Wastewater Reclamation Facility]  …
  • [Lemmon Valley W. R. F.]

Public Comment; speakers made the following points

  • Don’t promote from within to replace retiring manager John Slaughter
  • Could we have a new reservoir near Swan Lake to take some of the water?
  • Deny the proposed cell tower in Incline Village.
  • Phil Horan should not have been allowed to serve as a poll worker in the 2018 election.
  • Support a second-amendment sanctuary in the county.

Commissioner Berkbigler

  • She’s pleased with the improved clarity in Lake Tahoe and credits her efforts in her district.  The news reported that it was due to reduced rain runoff from the winter.
  • She asked about the location and cost of the proposed new reservoir.  She said she didn’t know how to locate it using the parcel number (080-740-02).

Commissioner Herman

  • She asked Staff about a proposed moratorium on construction in Lemmon Valley.
  • She asked Staff to report on road work in the North Valleys.

Commissioner Hartung

  • He asked the county attorney (Lipparelli) about the regulations that would apply to a moratorium.

There was no detailed discussion regarding a new reservoir in Lemmon Valley.  There was no discussion of a moratorium on new water and sewer connections in Lemmon Valley.


Agenda item 11: an interlocal agreement regarding the giant Stonegate development at the foot of Peavine Mountain east of Golden Valley.  This is for wastewater handling at the Cold Springs Wastewater Reclamation Facility (CSWRF).  Dwayne Smith explained this would include easements for sewer lines within the Reno city limits.  This agreement was approved by the Reno City Council last week. CSWRF uses infiltration basins to dispose of the treated effluent percolating into the soil and aquifer below.  CSWRF effluent is only treated to Grade-C; the lowest standard allowed.  The current permitted capacity is 0.7 million gallons per day (mgd).  The plant is currently flowing less than 0.35 mgd.  This would allow for approximately 700 more homes to be connected to the facility.  This would not be sufficient for the 5,000 homes in the Stonegate plan.

Hartung “Why not ask the developer to pay to improve the Cold Springs sewer plant to refine their effluent to Class-A+?”  Smith promotes the idea that as Stonegate is built, the county will have a plan to treat the CSWRF effluent to a Class-A+ standard.  He claims the percolation basin can absorb 6 mgd of effluent.

Herman “Have we learned from the Lemmon Valley flooding so we don’t repeat this at Stonegate?”  Smith “Just as we’ve been very successful in Lemmon Valley, we would expect to be successful in Cold Springs.”  Unbelievable!  Smith made no eye contact and his answer was ‘word salad’.

The motion to approve the interlocal agreement passed unanimously.

Agenda item 21: Palomino Ranch Estates  ordinance 1635 is a joint development agreement for 67 acres now General Rural (40 acre minimum lots).  Developer is requesting High Density Rural zoning with 2.5 or 5 acre lots.  The commission approved unanimously with all commissioners present.


County Manager Recruitment Plan 5/21/19

5/21/19  Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting, agenda item 16

Present: Hartung, Jung, Herman, Berkbigler, Lucey (by phone)

Washoe HR Director, Patricia Hurley, gave a presentation about the search for a new county manager.  There were 17 applicants, 11 of which possessed the minimum qualifications.

Approaches to take regarding the selection from here.:

  1. Interview all 11 candidates at an open meeting.
  2. Review all applications and select the top candidates for interview
  3. HR can re-open the application process and recruit more candidates
  4. An assessment panel could be used to narrow down the list of candidates.
  5. HR could contract an executive search firm to do the recruitment.


There was an extended discussion of whether the BCC should select from the candidates who have applied or to use an executive recruiting firm to find additional candidates from a national search.  The county attorney (Lipparelli) pointed out that the agenda item allowed them only to give instructions to staff regarding the selection process.  If the BCC wanted to select the recruiting firm, that would be outside the scope of the current agenda and would require a new agenda item at a later meeting.  Commissioners made the following points.


  • We left the application open much longer before and we had triple the number of applicants.


  • We had 50 apply last time, but the list of qualified applicants was 11.
  • She’s more comfortable using an executive search recruiter, but not the one used previously.
  • We should get someone with a masters in public administration.  The county is too big to have someone who needs to learn on the job.


  • This is a critical appointment, and it shouldn’t be rushed.  The residents deserve the best candidate we can get.


  • If we are going to open this back up, we should conduct a national search rather than just posting it for local people.
  • It’s very important to get someone who has worked in government before.
  • I’m not convinced we can’t move forward with the 11 candidates identified.


  • “We should move forward with a national search and re-open the application process.” “I don’t feel we need to re-open the process, but if we do, a national search firm should be employed. “
  • I think experience is more important than having a masters degree in public policy.
  • We need someone active in the community to show that they can work with the city governments of Reno and Sparks.
  • I’m fine moving forward with the 11 candidates.

Manager Slaughter

  • Last time, we considered three search firms.  The selection was made by the outgoing county manager.

HR Staff

  • We used Ralph Anderson for recruiting for the county manager and the chief information officer.  We have other firms we have used for other positions.

Public Comment

  • We need someone who is more interactive with the public and aware of safety concerns.  It’s time for a change.  We shouldn’t limit ourselves to candidates from Nevada.

Commissioners agree to have staff engage a national recruiting firm to find additional candidates.  There was no vote: it was just instructions to staff.

 Staff Report – County Manager Interview Process Update

Note: the county manager serves at the pleasure of the BCC.  Even the most professional and ethical candidate will likely need to follow the lead of the commissioners in favoring the developers.

County Fire Department News 5/21/19

This is a guest post by Tom Daly.

Highlights from today’s (5/21/19) TMFPD Board of Fire Commissioners meeting and other intel.

Commissioner Lucey was once again absent.

Fire Marshal – The resignation of Fire Marshal Beaver will result in a vacancy for a few months while a search ensues for her replacement. Previous 2017 finalists for the position are being contacted. The position will be held open until November 2019 for budget reasons.

Deputy Fire Chief – Operations – This position is also vacant given the retirement of DFC Gorgon last month. An internal candidate will likely be selected by August to fill this vacancy.

Fleet – New water tenders are in service at TM#32 East Lake and TM#40 Mogul. One of the new Type 1 structure engines will also be assigned to TM#40 when outfitting is completed at month’s end. For FY2020 the district will acquire one Type I structure engine and one Type III brush engine.

TM#37 Hidden Valley Station – The site for the replacement apparatus bay will need a boundary adjustment with an adjacent Reno owned parcel. The Board authorized staff to pursue this agreement with Reno. The City has agreed and resolutions at the City Council and County Commission meetings will be processed in June and July. An architect was selected today to address the renovation to the crew quarters (former house adjacent to the current station) and the new apparatus bay (two bay two vehicle deep structure elevated slightly to account for the adjacent flood zone).

FY2020 Budget Highlights – The budget was approved with some cost modifications made by Chief Moore from the draft budget presented in April. The District proposes to seek its first debt service in January 2020 in the form of a medium term (10-yr) bond for $4.7 million to finance the renovation/expansion of stations and the acquisition of rolling stock (two engines). TMFPD will pay a fixed fee of $875K/yr., for three years to the WCSO for dispatch services. The FY2020 Budget is expected to have a 19% ending fund balance with revenues slightly less than previously anticipated based on very recent State of Nevada financial projections. Commissioner Jung requested staff to prepare an impact statement for the next Board meeting for annexations by other jurisdictions, primarily Reno, on TMFPD revenues (mainly property taxes).

Performance review – Chief Moore’s performance review will be postponed until June or July.

State legislation –

  • SCR#2 calling for a study of Washoe County Fire Services has not had a hearing in the Senate nor has it been co-sponsored in the Assembly.
  • ACR#4 calling for a study of wildfires in Nevada has passed the Assembly and is being considered in the Senate and will likely pass.
  • SB#239 Calls for utilities (NV Energy) to prepare wildfire plans and to undertake programs to remove brush under their power lines among other issues. Passed both houses and is on the Governor’s desk for action.

Open House – There will be an open house, the first of three, at TM#39 Galena Forest on June 1st from 10am-noon to discuss wildfire prevention including fuel reduction projects and funding opportunities, Code Red sign-ups (reverse 911 call protocol) and NV Energy’s proposal to shutdown power in selected grids during high windstorm events. (address 4000 Joy Lake Road)

Fire Chief’s Report – There was considerable discussion regarding the call disparity within the District with Sun Valley and Spanish Springs accounting for 50% of all calls district-wide and the staffing difference, as the South Valleys have five stations to the North Valley’s four. Sun Valley #45 responds to about 10 calls per day and Spanish Springs #46 to about 7.5 calls per day (CY2018 call data). This issue will be addressed in July with the production of the District’s ‘Strategic Plan’ (all facets of the District’s operations and funding) now in process. Also, a ‘Deployment Report’ (manpower/stations) will be available in September. Chief Moore reported on the automatic and mutual aid responses for TMFPD to Sparks FD and Sparks FD responses to TMFPD at the previous request of Commissioner Hartung. Commissioner Jung requested a monthly report on this subject for all involved jurisdictions. Chief Moore reported that the neighborhood with the highest number of Priority 1 (life threatening) medical calls is Arrowcreek.

Union demands in negotiations – IAFF 2487 wants an educational pay incentive for those having an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. While there was discussion there was no Board action or public comment.

The next TMFPD Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday June 18th at 0900.

SB327 Fails to pass!

This is a guest post by Mike Lawson, Washoe Planning Commissioner.

SB 327, a bill introduced by Senator Ben Kieckhefer that would have further obfuscated the planning process in Nevada, died a quiet but appropriate death in the Nevada legislature on Friday when it failed to pass out of the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs. This terrible piece of legislation was introduced as a back door attempt to allow for and justify the use of “super pads” in the tentative map phase of the planning approval process. Approval of Super pads would circumvent the existing requirement to provide specific residential design criteria and identify the infrastructure impacts associated with them so that the public can provide input.

The recent Stonegate project that incorporated “superpads”, which was quite likely approved illegally by the city of Reno, seems to have been the genesis for the proposed change to planning law, and it is no coincidence that Senator Kieckhefer introduced the legislation considering his company’s role in getting Stonegate approved. WRAP followers would be well advised to remember Senator Kieckhefer’s role in advocating and legislating for inappropriate development the next time he faces reelection.  Reno Council-Member Brekhus appealed the approval of superpads from within the city council (Brekhus Superpad Appeal), but her appeal was denied.

SB 327 would have quietly sailed through the legislative process had it not been for the efforts of Steve Wolgast, Kristin Hemlein, Pam Galloway, Don Drake, and other WRAP activists to inform the residents and solicit support in opposition. One hundred thirty-seven concerned citizens are to be commended for taking the time to post comments to the legislative website in opposition compared to zero posted in favor. Additionally, several concerned citizens, including Kristin Hemlein, traveled to Carson city to testify in opposition. These combined efforts convinced the committee to let the bill die a quiet death. The voice of citizens expressed at county commissioners meetings, city council meetings, planning commission meetings, and in forums like WRAP, Nextdoor, and Facebook is making a difference. Do not be discouraged by recent set backs, rather be encouraged by the successes we achieve. Thank you for caring and acting on behalf of our neighborhoods and our broader community.

Please consider attending the WRAP meeting and mixer at the Tamarack Junction from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday June 2 to learn more about the ongoing efforts to sustain the Nevada lifestyle we are trying to preserve.

Michael Lawson


Regional Water Comm. Considerations

The Western Regional Water Commission (WRWC)is considering new approaches to address wastewater handling for the North Valleys.  One proposal on their agenda is to redirect some or all of the RSWRF (Stead sewer plant) discharge to Long Valley Creek in Lockwood east of Sparks north of Peavine Mountain in California (item 8).  The proposal is to budget $75,000 to study the proposal.  It is not explicit whether this would be to divert some of the current discharge, or only the additional discharge related to expansion.  With the RSWRF expansion plans denied by the Reno Planning Commission, it is not clear if this will still be seriously considered.

The WRWC will also consider budgeting $100,000 to re-map the current designated flood zones in Lemmon Valley (item 9).

Meeting details: 

Thursday, May 23, 9:00 AM, Sparks Council Chambers, 745 Fourth St., Sparks


Stead Sewer Plant Expansion Denied

The plan to expand the wastewater treatment plant capacity at Stead (RSWRF) was denied unanimously by the Reno Planning Commission last night.  This was a great meeting with incisive questions, informative answers, and insightful discussion.

The proposal is to expand the capacity of the plant from 2.0 million gallons per day to 4.0 million gallons per day.  As it is, the treated wastewater flows into Swan Lake.  There is no alternate routing of the waste water as part of this proposal (Proposed_Stead-Plant_Expansion_051519)

Residents expressed the following concerns.

  • The water level in Swan Lake is still rising.
  • There is only one foot of freeboard (height not submerged) on the Hesco barriers.
  • The contribution of effluent to the level of Swan Lake is significant.
  • The number of evaporative ponds has been decreased: these are full.
  • Stantec did the hydrology report for the Prado development as well as for the new treatment plant.  It looks questionable.
  • Closing the Lemmon Valley wastewater plant was considered in 2006, but never implemented.  The residents lack confidence in official commitments.
  • There are 17,000 new homes planned for the area.  The infrastructure should have been in place before these plans were approved.
  • Can the Stead plant be upgraded to treating water to an A+ standard so that it can be discharged anywhere?  Can this be part of the plant capacity increase?
  • Why not get a new permit at a reduced level that matches the current effluent flows?
  • The original plant was built in 2006.  The expansion should include improvements to incorporate current technology.
  • The Stead plant has exceeded its permitted effluent flows twice in recent months.
  • FEMA prohibits new development approval in flooded areas until the flooding is mitigated.
  • The Planning Commission is responsible for approving the developments that have resulted in the flooding.

Irene Tudor, a member of the Ward-4 NAB made the following points.

  • Water inflow and outflow is not balanced for Swan Lake.
  • The waste water operating plan was developed in 2013.  The situation is very different now.

Joe Coudriet, Reno Public Works Department, gave a presentation prepared by Stantec.  This included an informative map of planned development in the area.

(Presentation to the Commission – LDC19-00060 (Reno-Stead Water Reclamation Facility) (1))

His points.

  • Given the number of development plans in the North Valleys, the time to plan to expand the treatment plant is now.
  • There is consideration that the Lemmon Valley treatment plant might be decommissioned with the wastewater being redirected to the Stead Plant.
  • The plant expansion will not increase effluent flow to Swan Lake: they are still limited by their current permit (2.35 mgd).
  • It is most cost effective to double the capacity of the plant rather than to increase the capacity incrementally.
  • Plan to “shave” (redirect) 0.5 mgd of untreated sewage directly from the Stead plant to the TMWRF plant (Truckee Meadows Wastewater Reclaimation Facility).  This flow would not end up in Swan Lake.  They plan to move forward with this scheme, but it may not be in operation till early 2022.  The line to TMWRF is nearly complete.  This will not be used to reduce the existing flow into Swan Lake, but rather to allow the Stead plant to handle more than their current permit.

Commissioner discussion:

  • Why not start diverting the 0.5 mgd now to reduce the discharge into Swan Lake rather than diverting later to support additional development?  Answer: such a reduction would upset the operation of the plant.
  • Why not use the pipeline to divert treated effluent so that it does not contribute to the level of Swan Lake?   Answer: this would be possible.  It’s less efficient since the treated effluent would be treated a second time.
  • Why is the diverting pipe so small that it can only handle a fraction of the flow?  Answer: the pipe was existing.  It wasn’t built just for this purpose.  The capacity could be more than 0.5 mgd with limited improvements.
  • If the Stead plant has exceeded its permit capacity before, what gives us confidence that increased plant capacity won’t mean regularly exceeding the discharge permit?  Answer: the plant has only exceeded it’s permit on two occasions (one in 2017) when there was high precipitation.
  • Why expand the Stead plant at all when we don’t want the effluent in that basin?  Why not direct all the sewage to TMWRF for treatment?  Answer: TMWRF has limited extra capacity.  With future development, we may need 6-8 mgd capacity in the North Valleys.  TMWRF does not have 4 mgd extra capacity, but they could handle 2 mgd more if improvements in the connecting line were made.
  • Why don’t we have wastewater treatment capacities that match our growth plans under the new Reno Master Plan?  Answer: this facility plan has been in the Master Plan for 10 years.  We are looking into alternatives.  We understand there is an issue of trust with the public.  We will not increase our wastewater flows above the permitted amount until there is a comprehensive plan in place.
  • If we’re importing water into the basin to support development, where does the water go?  Answer: about half of it goes to a treatment plant.  The rest is consumed.
  • With the improvements to the Stead plant, could we plan to decommission the Lemmon Valley plant?  Answer: Yes, with some modifications.  This will depend on the Reno City Council’s decision.  Extra storage capacity will make it possible to dispose of more water for re-use (golf courses, dust suppression, etc.) which will reduce the flow into Swan Lake.
  • What would it take to improve the discharge water to Class-A+?  Answer: we presently discharge water to the Class-A standard for re-use customers and also to the creek.  It is a higher grade of water than is discharged by TMWRF which is Class-B.  Class-A meets state standards and is considered safe.  Class-A+ is advanced treatment that would be suitable for aquifer recharge.  It is very expensive and the treatment from Class-A to Class-A+ would likely be handled by the water authority (TMWA).
  • Are you planning for some of the big developments being proposed in the North Valleys?  Answer: yes; one mgd capacity will support about 4,500 homes.  The increase to 4 mgd will provide capacity for many new homes.  Some of the large developments being proposed are outside of the Stead-plant service area.

Commissioner discussion

  • Commissioner Marshall was not comfortable approving the plant expansion absent a credible plan to address increasing discharge to Swan Lake.  He doesn’t see this expansion as consistent with the Reno Master Plan.
  • Commissioner Weiske wants to see a discharge plan in place before the plant is expanded.
  • Commissioner Olivas says that sometimes we “bet on the come”, but there are two many holes and unanswered questions in this project.  The flooding shows that the older plan was faulty and having a permit to increase the discharge does not mean that it’s wise to do so with our current information.
  • Commissioner Gower agrees with Commissioners Marshall and Weiske about conformance with the Reno Master Plan.  He wants to take a step back and be more thorough with the overall strategy before moving forward with a piece of it.
  • Commissioner Johnson struggles with the infrastructure issue because this will allow for additional discharge and for additional water to be delivered to the North Valleys.

My impressions …

  1. It looks like closing the Lemmon Valley wastewater plant is not controversial.
  2. A substantial part of the Stead wastewater could be directed to the TMWRF facility.
  3. The Lemmon Valley residents are raising substantial and profound questions.
  4. The Planning Commissioners are really applying themselves to get to the truth.


Take 5: oppose SB327 Today!

The Senate Bill 327 will allow developers to get easier approval for massive developments (like Stonegate or Daybreak) with less public review.  It is written by Ben Kiekhefer on behalf of his employer who works for developers.  It passed the Nevada Senate by a wide margin.  It is now before the Government Affairs Committee in the Assembly which does not seem to take much interest in it.  They may review it as early as Thursday 5/16 (agenda).

Note: the bill has been substantially edited from the original version, but the effect and intent are unchanged.

Please send one or more members on the Government Affairs Committee a brief message telling them to oppose this terrible gift to developers.  Developments built under these rules could detract from the appeal of the Truckee Meadows for generations.

List of Committee Members … click the name for a contact form.

If you have time, come to the hearing.  It will be in Room 3143 in the Legislative Building in Carson City starting at 9:30 AM.  The committee is considering a number of bills.  There is no guarantee that this bill will be covered on 5/16.

Save The Date: June 2, 4:00-6:00 PM WRAP Mixer, Tamarack Casino

Friends, Supporters, Concerned Citizens,

Please join like-minded neighbors for an update on development issues around the county and an opportunity to meet other supporters of responsible development.  Have a glass of wine or other beverage from the cash bar.


4:00 PM Open the room.  Get a drink and a seat.

4:15 PM Start program:

  • Introduce a planning commissioner or two.  They can discuss issues of concern to them and answer some questions.
  • Describe issues from Pleasant Valley, Damonte Ranch, Galena, Verdi, and Lemmon Valley.
  • Introduce neighbors from the various parts of the county and have them describe their efforts and results.

5:15 PM Get acquainted with neighbors and principals.  Inquire about what tactics seemed to work to blunt destructive development.

6:00 PM Leave the room

The Tamarack Casino is located at 13101 South Virginia St. just north of the Summit Mall.  The Casino was kind enough to provide the meeting room free of charge.