“I’m optimistic that we’re close,” Moore said following the meeting.
A joint meeting of the Washoe County Commission and Reno City Council was set for sometime later this month, Moore said. In the meantime, the two fire departments will continue to provide mutual aid to each other.
“We did get an extension,” he said. “There was an agreement to continue to provide mutual aid in the interim. But there are still a lot of questions to answer.”
Reno City Council members voted to continue the current cooperative agreement for mutual aid with the new Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and to not send a 30-day termination notice.
Council members again asked Washoe County commissioners for a joint meeting with the hope that a public discussion could resolve issues related to the mutual aid agreement between the districts.
The Reno city attorney’s office was directed to draft language directing that Truckee Meadows Fire District must “exceed and exhaust all their available resources/capacity” before calling for mutual aid, according to Reno spokeswoman Michele Anderson. The attorney’s office is also directed to draft an addendum for a different type of response standard for Hidden Valley and Caughlin Ranch, lowering the threshold for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District to request assistance from Reno in those particular areas.
Reno City Council approved a cooperative agreement for mutual aid with the new county fire district on June 27, following a contentious divorce from the city as the county stood up its own fire district under intense scrutiny. The agreement authorized the Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger to send a 30-day termination notice on July 11 if the county did not agree to make three amendments to the agreement by July 10.
The three amendments are:
• The district must have a career fire officer on scene before requesting mutual aid — something Moore said would be extremely difficult in an emergency and unheard of for any other mutual aid agreement the district has with all other local, regional, state or federal agencies.
• The time frame for reimbursement for an exchange of resources would be reduced from 12 hours to three hours. A typical mutual aid agreement nearly always includes a 12-hour agreement.
• The Sierra Fire Protection District has to be a signatory on the agreement in addition to Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. The two districts have merged and Chief Moore oversees both as one district.
Washoe County Commissioners did not authorize the amendments. Instead, they asked Moore to return to the city of Reno to request more time to iron out the agreement.