Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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February 27, 2013
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Failed business program, cemetery deal on Nevada City council agenda


Members of the Nevada City Council will probe a failed small business assistance program and a $2,000-a-year solution to the city’s inability to maintain its oldest cemetery at their meeting tonight.

In 2008, the city hired David Nelson to apply for a $300,000 community development block grant.

Nelson secured the grant and it was used to start a business and microenterprise assistance loan program and classes for business startups, expansions and retentions and provide higher-risk loans than what are generally approved, according to a report City Manager David Brennan prepared for the council.

Despite more than 100 prospective small-business owners’ interest in the program, no loans were made to applicants due to denials by SEDCorp, which served as the underwriter and the subgrantee of the program to Nevada City, Brennan reported.

Of a $300,000 grant for the Business Assistance Loan programs, only $64,123 was spent — $22,500 was reimbursed to the city for staff time on the program and more than $41,500 was for subconsultant expenses for marketing and business class materials, according to Brennan’s report.

Although the city has not lost any money on the program, the purpose of the public hearing is to fill out a performance report for those who provided the grant.

The City Council is also faced with transfer and maintenance of Pioneer Cemetery to the Nevada Cemetery District at a cost of $2,000 a year for two decades.

Located on West Broad Street, Pioneer Cemetery is the city’s oldest burial ground. On close to two acres there are as many as 400 graves dating back to the 1850s, including those of Aaron A. Sargent, William Alphonse Sutter (son of the famous General Sutter of Sutter’s Mill) and Henry Meredith, according to City Attorney Hal DeGraw’s report to the council.

With no new burials, the cemetery had been maintained by the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, a California fraternal service organization.

“The city and volunteers have done some cleanups and made several attempts to restore the dignity of the cemetery, but the city has been generally unable to appropriately care for and maintain the property on an ongoing basis,” DeGraw reported. “And it has been in a state of disrepair for some time.”

Founded in 1943, the Nevada Cemetery District is a public agency that owns, maintains and preserves historic cemeteries in the western part of the county for the public.

At a $2,000-a-year cost, the cemetery district would operate and provide maintenance and improvements of Pioneer Cemetery.

During the portion of the meeting closed to the public because of its pertaining to pending negotiations, the council will discuss the purchase of land located in Pioneer Park with its owner, Susan Schreiber.

The public portion of the meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at Nevada City Hall, located at 317 Broad St.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.


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The Union Updated Mar 5, 2013 07:50PM Published Feb 28, 2013 09:52AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.