ELKO — Just where, exactly, do you think you live?
About 1,100 city residences were assigned wrong addresses some decades ago, and your home could be one of them.
Many homes are either out of sequence or on the wrong side of the street, Civil Engineer Jeremy Draper said. The misplaced addresses are spread throughout the city, but about 75 percent of the mistakes are inside mobile home parks with manufactured housing.
Although a misplaced address might seem insignificant, it could mean life or death in the face of emergencies.
Last August, the Elko Fire Department installed Public Safety Software from New World Systems, which includes an advanced digital map-based program that can identify characteristics of a specified location. The Elko Police Department uses the same software.
The program can pin-point nearby fire hydrants, present floor plans of commercial buildings and display other useful information.
But without proper addresses, the program will not work to its full potential, Fire Chief Matt Griego said at last week’s City Council meeting.
“One of the problems we have is these addresses, because they don’t verify on the map,” he said. “It interferes with our program. We spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars on (the new program), but because those addresses don’t verify, that product is basically not working for us.”
Another concern is the city’s population is currently not compliant with the E911 (or Enhanced 9-1-1) system, which can immediately match phone numbers with physical addresses.
Currently, the department’s dispatcher receives calls, retrieves the address from the caller, and directs the emergency responders to the location. Without a verified address, emergency response crews might have to spend extra time finding the location.
“If a resident has a heart attack or something like that, where they can’t express (where they live), we have no idea where they’re at,” Griego said. “If the addresses did verify — even if they dialed 9-1-1 and hung up, we could get there even if they said nothing. Right now ... we have no way to do that.”
But changing one’s address is no easy feat. In addition to changing the physical address of the residence, homeowners, must update their driver’s license, voter registration, utilities — everyone who sends them mail.
“This has not been well thought out,” said John Carpenter, a former Elko assemblyman and owner of the Cimarron West mobile home park. “I understand the safety deal, but you take my park, where people have lived for 30 years, and you start telling them to change their address, they’re going to go ballistic. ... They just won’t do it, a lot of them don’t know how to do it. It’s just not going to work.
“I’ll bet you nobody in this room, in half an hour, could think of every person that sends you mail during the year that you’re going to have to change the addresses (for).”
Attorney Robert Wines, owner of the Silver Pines Mobile Home Park, agreed with Carpenter.
“I think you have some issues here that you need to consider before making this a city plan,” Wines said at the meeting. “This plan tonight is a bad idea. You’re putting this on the entire city and you’re not taking any consideration of how it will affect everyone.”
The council mentioned ways in which the city could help residences with the process, but no alternative was for certain. Councilman Robert Schmidtlein suggested compensating the homeowners for the cost of new address numbers or providing a translator for non-speaking residences affected by the change.
“We will do things to help ease this as much as we can, but we are somewhat limited as to what our abilities will allow us to do,” responded Tony Ferguson, senior engineering technician for the city.
The addresses are expected to be changed one small sector at a time, starting with about 100 residences in the Southgate Mobile Home Park. The area will be considered a “beta” project to note any complications that may arise from the initial address changes.
Some streets within the mobile home parks will also need to be renamed.
“We’ve spoken with both Chief Griego and (Police) Chief (Don) Zumwalt about the project — they’re both in favor of it,” Draper said. “The utility companies are in favor of it. The Assessor’s Office, the post office, everyone else is in favor of doing the project. I’ve spoken with the manager of this particular park (Southgate), he’s in favor of it and thinks it’s a good idea.”
After discussing the agenda item for almost an hour, the council agreed to continue with the Southgate “beta” project and to conduct a public workshop with the residents beforehand.
“If they just get a letter, they won’t have all the knowledge we had tonight ... they aren’t going to hear the testimonies and how hard it is,” Council member Mandy Simons said. “I think that if they understand the background a little more, they will be willing to comply and it will give us all an opportunity to hear all the ... comments, considerations ... that we maybe haven’t thought of or thought hard enough on. I think it’s critical to have a meeting with everyone involved to talk things out.”
Liquor Control Code
Several bar owners attended the meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the “Elko Liquor Control Code.” A PowerPoint presentation, prepared by City Attorney David Stanton, was given at the meeting. Neither the council nor the public had an opportunity to look over the document prior to its presentation, so the agenda item was tabled. The complete presentation can be downloaded on the city’s website at www.ci.elko.nv.us/ad
ministration/agendas_minutes.htm by Thursday afternoon. The presentation will be given at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 26.
At the meeting, City Council also:
• Recognized Elko County Cattlewomen “Beef Month.”
• Received a County monthly update from Commissioner Glen Guttry.
• Received a 2012 Year In Review presentation from the Fire Department.
• Authorized Staff to begin negotiating a Professional Service Agreement with design team MGB+A, CHA Sports and Farrwest Chilton Engineering for the Sports Complex project.
• Approved an agreement with Ruby Mountain Rios to Adopt-a-Street for litter collection in the public right-of-way on Silver Street from Errecart Boulevard to Third Street.
• Approved Consent to Assignment and Assumption of Airport T-Hangar Lease Agreements to Vicki Peterson and Jo Ann Macari.
• Denied a claim of damages totaling $7,500 by Dave Frost for the alleged loss of enjoyment of property.
• Adopted Ordinance No. 767, amending “C General Commercial District” of the City Code by removing Section 3-2-10 B. 8. Mobile Homes, filed and processed as Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. 4-12.
• Adopted Ordinance No. 769, which approves an amendment to the development agreement between the city and Copper Trails LLC, specifically to reduce the principle building front yard.
• Adopted Ordinance No. 770, which approves the cancellation of the development agreement between the city and The Pointe at Ruby View LLC.
• Accepted a bid for vacant property located on the northerly side of Manzanita Lane.
• Approved warrants.