The following is a guest post submitted by Tom Daley. It was printed in the Reno Gazette Journal as an op-ed piece.
Automatic fire aid – The Mayor doth protest too much
On January 22, 2020 the Reno City Council considered the appeal of the Reno City Planning Commission’s denial of the Mortensen Ranch development (west of Somersett and north of I-80). When considering the required findings, Mayor Schieve learned that her fire department could not reach this development within their approved response time, giving her no choice but to sustain the Planning Commission’s denial of the project.
When her Fire Marshal testified that the closer Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) Station #40 Mogul, could reach the entry point to this development within 4-5 minutes, the Mayor launched into a rant about why the County (District) was not serving this area, suggesting that such response was a necessity for public safety. She conveniently omitted the fact that this City annexed part of the County and its property tax revenue now go to City coffers, despite the City being unable to service it, while demanding the County (TMFPD) do so for free.
A little history is in order.
On March 15, 2012 Reno’s manager Andrew Clinger, at the direction of Mayor Bob Cashell, terminated the existing automatic aid agreement between Reno and the TMFPD, effective April 15, 2012. Despite subsequent offers by the TMFPD Board of Fire Commissioners, the City refused to renew that agreement.
In the 2015 legislative session a bill was introduced to require automatic aid for fires within Washoe County (SB-185 – Kieckhefer). Mayor Schieve and her puppet master fire union, IAFF Local 731, vociferously opposed the legislation. Despite their opposition, the bill passed unanimously in the state Assembly, with only one dissenting vote in the state Senate and was signed into law.
The subsequent initial TMFPD/Reno automatic aid agreement for fires was for one year and, when expired, a multi-year extension was approved spanning October 2016 – June 2019. The TMFPD Board approved a further extension on May 21, 2019 (June 2019 thru June 2021) and the City Council approved that extension on June 12, 2019.
So yes, Mayor Schieve, the TMFPD will continue to bail your City out for free, providing your dispatchers ask for help, but only until our Fire Commissioners revise the agreement to provide greater equity for TMFPD taxpayers.
And finally, Mayor, you might heed the paraphrased colloquy of Col. Jessep (‘A Few Good Men’), with respect to TMFPD’s help,
‘Reno wants us on that call, Reno needs us on that call.…so I’d rather you just say, ‘thank you’ and go on your way!’
Thomas G. Daly
Thomas Daly is a resident of Washoe County and lives in the TMFPD.