Sparks Redevelopment Agency (Following City Council meeting) 9/10/2012 4:00:00 PM

    Monday, September 10, 2012 4:00 PM
    745 W. 4th Street, Sparks, NV 89431

Item Number: 4

Title: Consideration and possible approval of a request from Sparks High School for up to $17,000 in funding for replacement of their reader board sign
Petitioner/Presenter: Sparks High School/Armando Ornelas, City Planner
Recommendation: That the Agency Board approve a "not to exceed" amount of $17,000 for a replacement reader board for Sparks High School
Financial Impact: $17,000
Total Costs: $17,000.00
Fund: R/A Revolving    Account: 603212
Program: Redevelopment Agency 1 Community Development (130266)
Amount: $17,000.00    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: Sparks High School has requested that the City of Sparks provide funding to replace the reader board in front of the school. This agenda item asks the Agency Board to consider approval of $17,000, the estimated cost for purchase and installation of a replacement reader board. If the Agency approves the expenditure, Sparks High would be reimbursed up to $17,000 based on its documented costs.

Background: Both the Sparks Redevelopment Agency and the City of Sparks have previously funded projects and improvements at Sparks High School. In the 1990s, the Redevelopment Agency acquired land for additional surface parking at Sparks High to alleviate neighborhood parking issues. The Redevelopment Agency formalized its interest in assisting the Washoe County School District (WCSD) when it amended the Sparks Town Center (a.k.a., RDA 1) Redevelopment Plan in 2000. The amended plan includes a commitment to partner with the WCSD to improve the quality of schools serving RDA 1 residents, including Sparks High. Specifically, the 2000 Amended Redevelopment Plan authorizes the Agency to work with the WCSD to finance a variety of improvements to these schools. Within a few years of approving the 2000 Amended Redevelopment Plan, however, the Agency’s RDA 1 tax increment revenues began declining as the income, and consequently the property values, of gaming properties in RDA 1 fell. This decline accelerated with the spread of gaming in California, particularly the opening of Thunder Valley Casino outside Roseville. For this reason, as well as the Agency’s desire to focus its resources on the Victorian Square redevelopment project, the City of Sparks instead initiated a series of improvement projects at schools serving RDA 1 residents using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Projects were undertaken at five schools including, in 2004-05, improvements to the field and track at Sparks High. This request from Sparks High, made via Agency Chair Ron Smith, is for funding to replace their reader board in front of the school. This agenda item asks the Agency Board to consider approval of $17,000, the estimated cost for purchase and installation of a replacement reader board. The funds would be provided to the Washoe County School District on a reimbursement basis based on actual costs.

Analysis: The reader board currently located in the front of Sparks High is approximately 25 years old. Amy Marabel, a Sparks High School Assistant Principal, states that the reader board has served as a vital way of communicating with their community, Sparks families and their students. Ms. Marable notes that the board no longer serves in this capacity due to its age, the limited amount of letters they have for the board, and because several areas on the board are broken, limiting the messages that can be written. It is also a safety concern for their Leadership students who maintain the announcements on the board. As discussed in the Background section, in the past the City has primarily assisted schools serving RDA 1 with CDBG funding. While the City could potentially use CDBG funding for this request, it would need to amend and gain HUD approval of a revised Annual Action Plan and then document the appropriateness of this expenditure. Doing so would require a substantial expenditure of staff time (as well as a public hearing) which the City Manager has determined to be out of proportion to the size of the proposed expenditure. Based on the Redevelopment Agency’s approved redevelopment plan for the Town Center Redevelopment Area, RDA 1 funds can appropriately be expended to provide the WCSD and Sparks High the requested funding.

Alternatives: The Agency Board’s alternatives include denying or modifying the funding request.

Recommended Motion: I move to approve a “not to exceed” appropriation of $17,000 for a replacement reader board for Sparks High School.

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