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Public safety, foreclosed homes are the planks in city’s federal platform
by Joshua H. Silavent
Dec 12, 2011 | 6138 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — The City Council on Monday approved its 2012 federal legislative platform, which highlights key planks for Sparks’ congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. to support.

The federal platform is broken into four areas: public safety, community assets, sustainable energy and transportation.

According to staff reports, “While there does not appear to be an opportunity for earmarks in the foreseeable future, there are numerous opportunities for (Sparks) to participate in the federal grant process, as well as the federal regulatory process.

“The Sparks Federal Platform is intended to broadly emphasize the current and long-term needs of the city in key areas that are likely attainable at the federal level. The platform has been developed to keep our delegation mindful of Sparks and our current and long-term needs …”

Within the public safety sphere, city officials have outlined the grant needs for police and fire services. In addition, officials said that foreclosed and abandoned homes present a public safety threat, and help for struggling homeowners must be considered.

Community assets largely entail securing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which support housing assistance for low-income families across the city. Sparks’ entitlement share of CDBGs is down 19.9 percent in the last year, according to city spokesman Adam Mayberry.

Sparks has completed several photovoltaic, or solar power, projects in the last year, including at the police department, two fire stations and the Larry D. Johnson Community Center. Future solar power installation projects are proposed for the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility and Alf Sorensen Community Center.

The sustainable energy industry is a major source of prospective job growth in northern Nevada, which explains why city officials included it as part of the federal platform.

Finally, city officials said that federal interstate transportation programs are vital to Sparks. Priority projects include improvements to the McCarran Boulevard/Pyramid Highway interchange and the Pyramid Highway/U.S. 395 connector.

The City Council is expected to approve its state legislative platform in January.

In other news, the City Council accepted a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, and also approved a plan of corrective action to address violations found in the audit.

The CAFR reports that a few violations of state law were made, including such overspending for the fiscal year as $14,424 for public safety functions and $10,091 for community support functions.
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