RENO, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV) -- The Reno City Council is changing the way you will be communicating your interest in any number of issues or concerns.
They are moving forward with eliminating Neighborhood Advisory Boards, which date back to the mid-90's. There are a number of reasons for the change, but Reno City Council members say that one of those reasons is that participation in these boards, also called NABs, is down considerably.
But not everyone agrees with this change, including this longtime NAB member. "I feel that there are probably going to be some groups and organizations that are going to feel the brunt of this," said Scott Catron. "That probably hurts the most."
When the economy was booming, and construction and development were the norm, so were concerns from residents about growth and development. By 2005, Neighborhood Advisory Boards grew to eight boards.
But when the economy took a downturn, participation began to dwindle. Washoe County noticed a similar drop in their program. "When the economy hit, people started not turning out," said Bonnie Weber, Washoe County Commissioner. "Obviously gas, fuel, getting to the meetings, leaving their families to participate, it did dwindle."
So the county also revised its program, not eliminating its boards but trimming them back. As for the City Council, members are replacing the NABs with informal meetings which do away with open meeting laws, which some council members say impeded communication.
"If we don't have a quorum there, then it doesn't take place," said Oscar Delgado. "If there are certain issues that aren't on the agenda, we don't talk about them."
They plan to have "hot topic meetings" for those controversial issues, such as development and growth. "I think as long as, a big part of our job is to deal with land use issues or development issues, and it will be our job to make sure that anything that is being done in any of the wards is that those are brought up in these conversations," Delgado said.
They are also ramping up other forms of communication that includes the use of social media. In addition to overseeing development issues, the NABs also oversee other issues, such as neighborhood beautification, code enforcement and law enforcement issues.
Oscar Delgado doesn't see this as the NABs going away, but as an opportunity for greater community engagement at large.