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Sparks City Council Meeting 9/14/2020 2:00:00 PM

Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/96712069902
Meeting Dial-in #: 669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 967 1206 9902

General Business: 9.10

Title: Consideration and possible ratification of an agreement (AC-5686) by and between the City of Sparks and the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher education on behalf of the University of Nevada Reno to fund research related to the investigation of the presence of the COVID-19 virus in waste water and community prevalence monitoring in an amount not to exceed $1,790,385.00.
Petitioner/Presenter: Neil C. Krutz, ICMA-CM/John A. Martini, P.E., Assistant City Manager
Recommendation: That the Council ratify the agreement.
Financial Impact: Not to exceed $1,790,385.00 to be paid from City of Sparks CARES Act funding
Total Costs: $1,790,385.00
Fund: Sparks Grants & Donations Fund    Account: 603125
Program: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 at Sewer Treatment Facility, Coronavirus Relief Funding (059800)
Amount: $1,790,385.00    Budget Status: Budget Exists
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
    
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

On March 15, 2020, the City Manager declared a state of emergency in the City of Sparks related to the global outbreak of COVID-19.  On July 27, 2020 the City Council provided direction to the City Manager for possible uses of CARES Act funding received by the City of Sparks including partnering with the University of Nevada Reno on a program to investigate the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in wastewater and creation of a community prevalence model. The City of Sparks received a proposal from the University of Nevada Reno to conduct the research and the proposal and associated research agreement were deemed appropriate.  Because time is of the essence, the City Manager authorized the research agreement on August 19, 2020.  This agenda item requests that the City Council consider ratification of the City Manager’s action and memorialize the agreement.



Background:

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the virus to be a severe public health threat. As of August 28, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 24,299,923 confirmed cases of COVID-19 leading to 827,730 deaths in 206 countries: 7,024 of those cases and 136 of those deaths were reported in Washoe County. Because it is possible that the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in our community may not be adequately reflected through testing of only those displaying symptoms of the disease, there is a need to better understand the magnitude of the prevalence of the virus within our community.  Such information can be used to create a community prevalence model to provide a predictive tool for decision makers tasked with managing the pandemic.

It has long been recognized that human pathogens, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, can be measured in wastewater up to 14 days prior to infection.  Numerous cities and regions around the world are conducting environmental surveillance of wastewater to determine the incidence of the SARS-CoV-2 in their communities.  To date, no environmental surveillance of wastewater has been conducted in the Truckee Meadows.  Fortuitously, samples of wastewater have been collected at the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) since the outbreak of the virus in early March.  These samples have been preserved and are available for analysis.

The City of Sparks, through its affiliation with the Nevada Water Innovation Institute (NWII), requested that a proposal for environmental surveillance of wastewater samples from TMWRF be drafted by UNR. 

 



Analysis:

A proposal to provide the research was received from Dr. Krishna Pagilla, Director of NWII, in early May and was further refined in August.  As presented in the proposal, the goal of the research is to conduct environmental surveillance of wastewater at TMWRF and in the collection system to determine the incidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  Using the data, a model will be created to indicate the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.  The modelling tools will include epidemiological testing data from local health agencies to develop a predictive tool for use by decision makers tasked with managing the pandemic. The proposal provides detail as to the research plan the and the technical methods that will be used to analyze the wastewater samples and create the community prevalence model.  The proposal defines that the results of the research will be delivered to the City of Sparks by December 30,2020.  City of Sparks staff reviewed the proposal and determined it to be acceptable.

On July 27, 2020 the City Council provided direction to the City Manager for possible uses of CARES Act funding received by the City of Sparks including partnering with the University of Nevada Reno on a program to investigate the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in wastewater and creation of a community prevalence model.

On August 17, 2020 UNR provided the City of Sparks with an agreement to conduct the research included in the proposal.  The research agreement was reviewed by staff from the Community Services Department, Financial Services Department and the City Attorney’s Office and deemed acceptable.

Sections 1.30.010 and 2.20.025 of the Sparks Municipal Code empower the City Manager to proclaim the existence of a local state of emergency and to request state and federal assistance when the City of Sparks is affected by, or in imminent danger of, a public calamity and the City Council is not in session. State law authorizes local governments responding to an emergency to “enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat such an emergency or disaster, protect the health and safety of persons and property and provide emergency assistance to the victims of such an emergency or disaster.” NRS 414.090(3).  On March 15, 2020 the City Manager declared a state of emergency in the City of Sparks related to the global outbreak of Covid-19.

On August 19, 2020 the City Manager authorized the research agreement for the following reasons:

  • The terms and conditions of the research agreement and scope of work have been reviewed by staff and deemed acceptable.
  • The goals stated in the scope of work and research agreement will provide data and predictive tools to better manage the pandemic that are in the best interest of the health and safety of our citizens.
  • The scope of work for the research is robust and time is of the essence.
  • The use of CARES Act funds are appropriate to pay the cost included in the research agreement; the research is a necessary expenditure due to the public health emergency, the costs were not accounted for in the City’s FY20 or FY21 budgets, the costs will be incurred during the period of March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020, and the use of CARES Act funds are not being used to offset a revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Alternatives:
  1. The City Council may ratify the research agreement as recommended.
  2. The City Council may regect the research agreement and provide direction to the City Manager.


Recommended Motion:

I move to ratify agreement (AC-5686) by and between the City of Sparks and the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher education on behalf of the University of Nevada Reno to fund research related to the presence of the COVID-19 virus in waste water and community prevalence monitoring in an amount not to exceed $1,790,385.00.



Attached Files:
     Research Agreement- COVID Wastewater (002)_FE.pdf

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