New fire station tops Carson City ‘wish list’

The Board of Supervisors and Carson City department leaders held their annual retreat Thursday to discuss the city’s needs.

Top of the list: a new fire station.

Fire Chief Sean Slamon proposed two possible locations for a new station and the most cost effective way to staff it.

An additional station would make sense in either northwest or east Carson City. In the northwest, the city would have to acquire a site while it owns suitable land in the east, off Butti Way near Lompa Ranch, where several, large residential projects are planned.

“If we add a station near Public Works that would provide a lot of the overlap and four minutes to the east side,” said Slamon, referring to the Public Works office on Butti Way, the desired overlapping coverage between a station there and the city’s existing stations that would allow for 4-minute response times.

In terms of personnel, Slamon suggested moving 12 firefighter/paramedics from ambulances and dedicating them to firefighting, and hiring 12 emergency medical technicians/paramedics on a single-role ambulance to replace them. That would cost approximately $1.3 million versus $2.1 million to hire new firefighters.

A new fire station would cost between $4-7 million to build. Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, for example, recently built a 10,000 square foot station for $5.4 million, Slamon said. A new fire engine has already been approved and is arriving in a year. And a new ambulance would cost about $120,000.

Carson City hasn’t added a fire station since 1974 when the city’s population was about a third of what it is today. The number of fire personnel has held steady for 20 years while emergency responses have jumped 82 percent. And call volumes have been rising 3-5 percent annually.

A new station could also be built to house a new emergency operations center to replace the insufficient, classroom-sized EOC in Station 51.

Slamon also highlighted potential funding sources to explore, including Ground Emergency Medical Transportation reimbursements, which provide supplemental payments to publicly-owned or operated providers, as well as impact fees for new development, a competitive federal grant, an increase in transport fees, and a new public safety tax.

Staff also gave a presentation on the asset management program, launched in 2016, which is taking an inventory of the city’s buildings, facilities, and equipment to more cost effectively plan maintenance and replacement.

Matt Lawton, asset manager, said the city has 4,000 manhole covers which will take four years to inventory. The process has already saved the city some $4,000, he said, because the city is working with a developer to repair four covers close to a new project.

The city has 237 miles of sewer pipe, for example, that will take 15 years to assess with current budget and staff, said Lawton.

“The five-year plan we showed you earlier is more realistically 15 years,” said Stephanie Hicks, real property manager. “How do we do it faster?”

Lawton currently does both GIS and asset management so staff is recommending the addition of a full-time GIS (geographic information systems) position and an asset management consultant, for about $75,000 each, and $150,000 for a reserve study, which determines how much money the city needs to put away for maintenance.

Jason Woodbury, district attorney, and Daniel Yu, assistant district attorney, gave a presentation on the DA’s Comprehensive Revision Project to review and revise the city’s municipal code.

The project started last year and they’re now working on a drafting manual to be used by policy makers and the DA’s office alike in crafting new code.

Then the DA’s office is going to go through the code title by title. Woodbury said the office has already reached out to the various department heads to get feedback on needed changes to code they work under.

The entire project will go through 2022, Woodbury’s current term.

“I view this as my legacy, something I can do for Carson City,” he said.

In the afternoon, the board and staff broke into smaller groups inside the Studio at the Adams Hub, where the retreat was held, and brainstormed ideas for specific issues in various departments. Public Works, for example, worked on ideas for the city’s effluent reuse, while Parks, Recreation and Open Space discussed ways to reduce some requirements that make it difficult to reserve city parks and facilities for events.


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