Reno is the largest city in Northern Nevada, with a population of over 217,000. It is located in the southern part of Washoe County, nestled on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an area called the Truckee Meadows.
In 1859, Charles Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River and charged a fee to those who passed over it on their way to Virginia City and the gold recently discovered there. Fuller also provided gold-seekers with a place to rest, purchase a meal, and exchange information with other prospectors. In 1861, Myron Lake purchased Fuller's bridge, with the money from the tolls, bought more land, and constructed a gristmill, livery stable, and kiln. When the Central Pacific Railroad reached Nevada from Sacramento in 1868, Lake made sure that his crossing was included in its path by deeding a portion of his land to Charles Crocker (an organizer of the Central Pacific Railroad Company), who promised to build a depot at Lake's Crossing. On May 13, 1868, the town site of Reno (named after Civil War General Jesse Reno) was officially established. Lake's remaining land was divided into lots and auctioned off to businessmen and homebuilders.
The City has a Council-Manager form of government with five Councilmembers representing wards and one Councilmember elected at large for staggered four year terms. The Mayor is the chief elected official and formal representative of the City. Elected at-large, the Mayor serves a four-year term. The City Attorney and Municipal Court Judges are also elected. The City Manager is selected by the Council and is the City’s chief administrative official. The City Manager is responsible for all City business.
Reno’s economy is principally based in the trade and service sector, with approximately 65% of the work force employed in these occupations. Although gaming and other recreational activities represent a significant portion of the growing economy and assessed valuation, the City is experiencing gradual diversification of its business base with the expansion of distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing facilities. Approximately 25% of the workforce is employed in the fields of construction, manufacturing, transportation, communications, public utilities, and finance related services.
The Reno area is serviced by two major highways, Interstate 80 and U.S. 395. The Union Pacific Railroad and a number of trucking and airline carriers make it possible to ship from Reno to 80% of the 11 western states on a next-day basis.
Nevada has no corporate or personal income tax, and is a right to work state. These factors have contributed to the State’s tremendous growth in the 1990s and into this decade. In 2005, Inc. magazine has tabbed Reno No. 1 on its list of the "Best Places to Do Business in America," based on job growth figures among 274 metropolitan areas.