When voters head to the polls this November, they will be asked to do a little more then choose a candidate. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners voted on Monday to approve two advisory questions for the ballot.
An advisory question is basically an opinion poll, to show the County Commission how the public feels about certain issues.
The first question on the ballot will be about funding for public services:
"Should more funding for essential public services such as senior services, public safety services, and public infrastructure be provided by increasing the government services tax from the current rate of four percent to a maximum of five percent of the depreciated value of a motor vehicle?"
What it means:
Drivers pay a government services tax every time they register a vehicle at the DMV. The current rate is four percent of the current value of the vehicle. If the voters say yes to the ballot question, that would give the county commission the green light to raise that to five percent.
County Commissioner David Humke said this would generate $9.4 million per year for public safety costs like the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, infrastructure improvements, and senior services.
"The legislature authorized the county of Washoe to go from four percent to five percent a while back," Humke said. "We are looking at using it now, and we are asking the people, 'Shall we do this?'"
The second question on the ballot will be about public safety:
"Should local governments be required to provide closest unit emergency response to fire and medical emergencies regardless of jurisdiction?"
What it means:
The question is asking if voters approve of "automatic aid," which would allow emergency crews to ignore jurisdictional restrictions and respond based on whichever agency is closest to a call.
The City of Reno and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District do not currently operate on automatic aid. Officials said automatic aid is more financially complicated, due to resolving unequal funding issues, but fire officials said it is important for community safety.
"We don't want to get into a situation where somebody is having a heart attack or their lives are threatened, and we are some 200, 300 feet away, but we can't go because there's this jurisdictional issue," TMFPD Chief Charles Moore said.
These questions will not mean an automatic change in policy. They are basically a way for the County Commission to gauge public opinion before they make any decisions.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:40 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:40:59 GMT
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