The City Council handed out several street rehabilitation projects as part of the 2013 Street Rehabilitation Project and east Sparks streets will get the focus to kick off the 2014 run. The project covers Glen Vista Drive from Howard Drive to William Morby Drive, Sage View Drive from O’Callaghan Drive to Robbie Way, Paisley Court, Sells Street from Thornton Street to Lincoln Way and Thornton Street from Sells Street to Lincoln Way.
The streets will receive removal and replacement as needed, for curbs, gutters, sidewalk and driveway approaches as well as new asphalt for all the streets. Spanish Springs Construction estimates 50 days to complete the work once construction begins. Jon Ericson, Transportation Manager for the City of Sparks, said the project will have 12 full-time employees on it.
The City Council also approved a five-year Temporary Construction Easement and Storm Drain Pipeline Easement with F&M Properties for the North Truckee Drain Realignment project. The City will pay $85,000 for the easement agreements during the five-year period.
City staff identified 12 individual property owners on 18 parcels of land that would be affected by the realignment project and appraisals have been, and are continuing to be, drawn up for the properties before project construction can begin.
John Martini, Assistant Community Services Director for the City of Sparks, said the city is in negotiations with the remaining property owners and he plans to present the rest of the easement proposals by the end of the month. He said the city will be eligible for some reimbursement through the flood control project, and possibly some federal funds, as a “ballpark estimate” of $1 million was made for all property appraisals.
BioSafe Systems, a family-owned manufacturer of biodegradable disease-control products, is expanding its business to include manufacturing with its distribution in Sparks, which will require the company to place a total of four 9,500-gallon tanks to hold hazardous materials.
BioSafe Systems, located on E. Glendale Avenue, obtained a special-use permit from the City of Sparks to house two tanks of acetic acid and two tanks hydrogen peroxide on its property. Karen Melby, Senior Planner for the City of Sparks, said the tanks will be filled weekly and will reside in a concrete containment area managed by the BioSafe Systems staff.
A representative for BioSafe Systems said Monday that the flashpoint of the materials was a concern during the Sparks Planning Commission's meeting and he added that no oxygen or ignition source would be present in the containment area to ignite the hazardous chemicals. He added that the acetic acid being housed there can be compared to diesel fuel in terms of safety and care of the tank, which Councilman Mike Carrigan said is comparable to the “tank farm” located in Sparks visible from I-80. The Council approved the special-use permit unanimously.
Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen accepted a grant funding, after approval from City Council, from the United States Department of Justice and the State of Nevada enforcing under-age drinking laws (EUDL) grant. The Justice Assistance Grant comes in partnership with the City of Reno and Washoe County and helps aid the needs of the criminal justice agency.
“We apply for the grant with City of Reno and Washoe County because as a whole we receive more than the City of Sparks would get on its own,” Allen said.
The City of Sparks receives 20 percent of the grant funding, with Reno and Washoe County getting 40 percent each, which amounts to $28,951 that Allen said the Sparks Police Department will use for equipment purchases and officer training.
Allen said the EUDL grant funds amounted to $9,000 and will allow the SPD to conduct alcohol sale compliance checks as well as other law enforcement operations to reduce underage drinking.
The Sparks City Council also approved a series of labor agreements and employment resolutions today addressing among other items, compensation for city employees. Effective July 1, the City has restored the pay and benefit concessions that have been made of select employee bargaining groups and those not covered under labor agreements. Most of the City’s bargaining groups and those employees not covered by bargaining agreements have conceded about 8 percent of their total wage and/or benefits since 2008.
The City has reached a stable position in its financial budgeting, but continues to work toward a sustainable budget.
The total cost of returning employee concessions equates to approximately $1.7 million in the city’s General Fund. The funding will likely come from a combination of operational expenditure reductions, a lower ending fund balance in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, and other possible options as the city continues to undertake a systematic process becoming more innovative in an effort to reduce costs allowing the city to balance its budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
“Our employees have made significant sacrifices over the last several years as we have battled the great recession,” said City Manager Shaun Carey. “I am pleased the Mayor and City Council have agreed to support returning pay to our employees who have done far more with far less. However, today’s actions do not signify the end of the City’s fiscal challenges. We must continue to work toward a fiscally sustainable organization and look across the board for opportunities to reduce costs and innovate,” he said.