City of Reno
Nevada

Staff Report
3422

F.2.1 Staff Report (For Possible Action): Public Hearing regarding the expansion of the Downtown Police Special Assessment District to provide the opportunity for any resident or owner of property within the area to present, orally or in writing, the reasons why he/she believes that (a) any specified territory should be excluded from the district or, if the proposed district does not include the entire area, any specified territory within the area should be included within the district; or (b) the proposed level of service should be changed in any specified respect; and set the base assessment amount at $1,520,000.

Information

Department:Public Works - Capital ProjectsSponsors:
Category:SAD - Special Assessment District

Recommendation and Proposed Motion

Recommendation: Staff recommends Council refer Bill No. _____ for a second reading and adoption.

 

Proposed Motion:  I move to refer Bill No. ______ for a second reading and adoption.

Staff Report Formal Body

Summary: NRS 268.784 requires Council to hold a second public hearing before the first reading of the ordinance which would expand the existing downtown Police Special Assessment District (SAD).  At this public hearing, any resident or owner of property within the area may present, either orally or in writing, the reasons why he/she believes that:

 

(a)   any specified territory should be excluded from the district or, if the proposed district does not include the entire area, any specified territory within the area should be included within the district; or

 

(b)   the proposed level of service should be changed in any specified respect.

Pursuant to NRS 268.784(3), after consideration of any objections made at the public hearing and of any other information reasonably known to it, Council shall make any appropriate changes in the proposed ordinance and may adopt it. 

 

Previous Council Action:

January 15, 2014 – Council directed staff to begin the petition process to expand the boundaries of the Downtown Police Special Assessment District.

 

March 12, 2014 – Council determined that: 1) the petition to expand the Downtown Police Special Assessment District was sufficient in form and number of signatures; 2) made findings that the public interest would benefit by the provision of a higher level of police protection in the expanded Police SAD, and 3) directed staff to draft an ordinance that a) set the general level of police protection within the expanded Police SAD and b) defined the expanded Police SAD district boundaries.

 

Background:  In June 2013, Council directed staff to create a sub-committee to examine the future of the Downtown Police and Maintenance Special Assessment Districts.  The sub-committee had representatives from residents, businesses and the casinos in the existing Downtown Police SAD that looked at many aspects affecting the existing downtown Police SAD.  Their focus initially has been the Police District, not the Downtown Maintenance District.

 

On January 15, 2014, the sub-committee brought Council a recommendation to expand the current Police SAD.  The initial funding for the expanded SAD would be $1,520,000.  This would pay the cost of the current fourteen officers on the Downtown Enforcement Team (DET) and would also include additional funding in the amount of $190,000 to support new and additional public safety programs within the SAD, including a volunteer officer program. Council approved the presentation and directed staff to begin the process of expanding the existing Downtown Police SAD.

 

Based on Council’s January 15, 2014 direction, 1,833 petitions were prepared and mailed to property owners within the proposed area of the expanded Police SAD on January 24, 2014.  To successfully petition the City Council to create the expanded SAD, pursuant to NRS 268.781, at least 10% of the owners of taxable property within the proposed SAD, whose property ownership represented at least 25% of the assessed value of the entire SAD must have responded favorably to the petition. Therefore, for this petition to be forwarded to the City Council for consideration, 184 property owners representing at least $60,764,539 in assessed property values within the entire proposed expanded SAD must have responded favorably to the petition.  The petition period closed on February 26, 2014.  At that time, 443 property owners having $85,480,094 in assessed value responded favorably to expanding the SAD.

 

It should be noted that the cover letter accompanying the petition also invited the recipients to public information meetings; the first held on February 6, 2014 in the City Council Chambers and the other held on February 20, 2014, also in the City Council Chambers.  The first meeting had 23 attendees and the second had another 5 attendees.  Staff also was invited to give a presentation regarding the petition and other issues to the Montage Homeowners Meeting on February 13, 2014.  There were about 35 property owners in attendance.

 

On March 12, 2014, Council held a public hearing to approve the petition to expand the Downtown Police SAD.  At this hearing the City Attorney’s Office stated that the petitions were sufficient in form and number of signatures as required pursuant to NRS 268.782(1). Then Council heard oral and written testimony from any resident or owner of property within the area regarding the reasons why he/she believed (1) that the petition did not contain a sufficient number of qualified signatures; or (2) that the City Council could not reasonably find that the public interest would benefit by the provision of a higher level of police protection within the area.  After consideration of any objections made at the March 12, 2014 hearing and of any other information reasonably known to it, Council found that the public interest would benefit by the provision of a higher level of police protection within that part of the area.  Council then directed staff to draft an ordinance to expand the Downtown Police SAD.

 

Discussion:  NRS 268.784 requires that a second public hearing be held before the first reading of the ordinance.  At this public hearing, any resident or owner of property within the area may present, either orally or in writing, the reasons why he/she believes that:

 

(a)   any specified territory should be excluded from the district or, if the proposed district does not include the entire area, any specified territory within the area should be included within the district; or

 

(b)   the proposed level of service should be changed in any specified respect.

In accordance with NRS 268.784 (3), after considering any objections made at the hearing and any other information reasonably known to it, the Council shall make any appropriate changes in the proposed ordinance and may adopt it.

 

In summary, Council is being asked to expand the boundaries of the current Police SAD to include the new areas as indicated on the attached map.  Council is also being asked to set the base assessment for the expanded Police SAD at $1,520,000.  This amount includes the funding of the current fourteen officers on the Downtown Enforcement Team and also includes funding in the amount of $190,000 to support new and additional public safety programs within the Police SAD, including a volunteer officer program.  The sub-committee’s recommendations on these items are included in the draft ordinance provided to Council.

 

Financial Implications:  Upon final adoption of the changes to the ordinance to expand the Police SAD boundaries, the base assessment will be set at $1,520,000.  Estimates of individual assessments with a Notice of Public Hearing will be mailed on April 18, 2014.

 

Legal Implications:  NRS 268.784 requires the public hearing described above be conducted prior to the first reading of the ordinance.

 

Meeting History

Mar 26, 2014 12:00 PM Video City Council Regular

The Mayor asked if proper notice was given.

City Clerk Jones stated that proper notice was given and four (4) letters in protest were received: 1) Patrick Fogarty, 100 North Arlington Avenue #22K; 2) Clark Kayler, Lake Street property owner; 3) Fred Atcheson, 829 and 839 North Center Street; and 4) Greg Kukuk, Ninth and Virginia streets.

Mayor Cashell opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak.

The following four (4) individuals discussed their opposition to the proposed expansion of the Downtown Police Special Assessment District (SAD): 1) Marc Rissone, 3480 Nowlin Lane, Sparks; 2) Fred Atcheson, 829 North Center Street; 3) Greg Kukuk, 2024 Breen Drive; and 4) Brenda Nance, no address provided.

The following two (2) individuals presented Public Comment Forms in opposition to the expansion, but did not wish to speak: 1) Clark Kayler, 825 Lake Street; and 2) Merl Schneider, 220 Falling Water Court.

The following two (2) individuals presented Public Comment Forms in support of the expansion, but did not wish to speak: 1) Jim Gallaway, 50 North Sierra Street #1011; and 2) Frank Partlow, 50 North Sierra Street.

The Mayor closed the public comment portion of the hearing.

Council Member Schieve said that repeat offenders (those will a large number of calls for police service) should be charged instead of the other residents.

Council Member Jardon discussed the need for a better way to penalize repeat offenders.

Council Member Zadra recalled that in previous Council discussions about penalizing repeat offenders, several business owners along Second Street complained that citizens used their business addresses to report activities that were being conducted in the street outside but not within their businesses. She asked if that was the reason the City had not continued to examine ways of penalizing repeat offenders, and whether a new conversation regarding the issue should ensue.

Steve Pitts, Chief of Police, said that at the last meeting the Council recommended and City Manager Clinger directed that staff (Police Department and Code Enforcement) develop a comprehensive strategy for monthly Community Safety and Service Team (CSAST) operations in that corridor, and those monthly operations would be driven by a high volume of calls for service at specific locations and in spheres of influence for a certain geographical area. He agreed that the Second Street bar owners claimed it was what was going on the streets and alleyways near their businesses and not what was going on within their doors that was creating numerous calls for service, and that they (the bar owners) had a legal right not to be held responsible for it. Chief Pitts also said that former Council Member Aiazzi requested that staff explore the possibility of charging repeat offenders for excessive calls for service, but legal counsel determined it was not something the City could do. He said that CSAST, along with the motel intervention program that was already in place, would provide a more comprehensive approach to the problems, and would be based on data collected, calls for service, and complaints.

Rob Bony, Deputy City Attorney, agreed that local government jurisdictions do not have the legal authority to charge people for police or fire calls for service because the Legislature has not granted them that authority (i.e., Nevada is not a Home Rule state).

Council Member Brekhus discussed the need for detailing existing levels of service and providing citizens with an explanation regarding exactly what they will be getting as a result of the assessments.

Council Member Schieve suggested the possibility of submitting a Legislative Bill Draft Request (BDR).

It was moved by Council Member Dortch, seconded by Council Member Zadra to accept the report.

Council Member Brekhus reiterated that staff be given direction to bring back a more detailed statement with respect to the existing patrol levels per the ordinance, the nature of the enhancements (i.e. the additional services that will be provided to the district), and how the levels of operation will be distributed.

Council Member Dortch suggested that staff instead provide within six months an update regarding operations that had been done within the district, noting that it might be necessary to amend or change the process along the way. He questioned whether it made more sense for staff to report back on what they had done rather than detailing now what they were going to do.

Chief Pitts suggested that staff provide quarterly updates, and over the next month continue to develop the established benchmarks to include other services in other city departments. That way, he said, we can collectively answer questions such as what CSAST is doing and how much it is costing.

Council Member Dortch asked what direction staff needed to have included in the motion, and Chief Pitts replied that it would be difficult to define the benchmarks at this point, but he was comfortable with the direction provided by Council Member Brekhus in her earlier discussion.

Council Member Brekhus suggested that direction to staff be to return within 60 days with a description of the existing levels of service; details regarding the proposed enhancements and how they will be benchmarked; and an estimation of dollar amounts required for foot patrols, CSAST operations, etc.

It was moved by Council Member Dortch, seconded by Council Member Zadra to amend the motion and accept the report, and direct staff to return within 60 days with a report detailing existing levels of service; details regarding the proposed enhancements and how they will be benchmarked; and an estimation of dollar amounts required for foot patrols, CSAST operations, etc.

Motion carried.

The Mayor closed the public hearing.

RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Dwight Dortch, Vice Mayor
SECONDER:Sharon Zadra, Council Member
AYES:Robert Cashell, Jenny Brekhus, Sharon Zadra, Oscar Delgado, Dwight Dortch, Neoma Jardon, Hillary Schieve