Home>Feature>‘Staffing Constraints’ Delay Open Records Request For Reno Public Safety Center Budget

Artist's renderings of the Public Safety Building in Reno. (Photo: City of Reno)

‘Staffing Constraints’ Delay Open Records Request For Reno Public Safety Center Budget

The budget for the Public Safety Center has ballooned from $35 to $70 million

By Megan Barth, November 18, 2022 11:17 am

Back in October, The Globe broke the story related to the ballooning budget of the Public Safety Center in Reno. A source within the city informed The Globe that Phase One of the project was $14 million over budget. The City of Reno had previously approved a $34.5 million budget to rehabilitate the former Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ) into a Public Safety Center. This budget didn’t not include the $7 million the city paid to the RGJ for the building.

We immediately contacted Public Works Director Kerrie Koski, who, a month prior, told the RGJ that “She and her team think that by purchasing and repurposing the building, as opposed to constructing a new facility from the ground up, the city has saved $15-20 million on the new safety center.” Her statements to the RGJ also indicated that the project was over budget.

In response to our email and voicemail, Koski deferred us to a general number in response to our numerous questions. We called the number and received a returned call, but our questions remained unanswered and further emails and phone calls from The Globe were ignored.

Days later, the Reno City Council, led my Mayor Hillary Schieve, approved and increased the budget for the project to $70 million.

D.4 SUPPLEMENTAL SUPPORTING MATERIALS ­ Staff Report (For Possible Action): Approval of Contract Amendment to Plenium Builders, Inc. for the Public Safety Center (PSC) Project ­Phase 2 in the amount of $34,000,000 and to extend the Contract time for completion of Phase 2. (Capital Fund)  [Ward 3]

Following our expose, an open records request was filed on October 31. We have received some information from the city from this open records request except for the Public Safety Center’s prior and current budget, expenses, and the estimates of each phase for the development.

On November 16, the City of Reno responded and admitted that the delay in providing easily-accessible financial documents was related to “staffing constraints.” The expected due date for the open records request is now November 30, 2022.

This is a developing story.

 

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