Pioneer Cemetery hand-off, tax revenue on Nevada City Council agenda |

Pioneer Cemetery hand-off, tax revenue on Nevada City Council agenda

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

After canceling their March 27 meeting, members of Nevada City's council have a full agenda of items to tackle at their meeting tonight, including a discussion about relegating responsibility of the town's oldest cemetery, setting a date to meet with the public about expending added revenues from a tax increase and approving rules for Hirschman's Pond.

Located on West Broad Street, Pioneer Cemetery is the city's oldest burial ground. It contains as many as 400 graves on close to 2 acres that date 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 a February report prepared by City Attorney Hal DeGraw.

However, as city representatives admit, the city is unable adequately to care for the cemetery.

Council members are tasked with authorizing the mayor to transfer ownership and maintenance of the cemetery to the Nevada Cemetery District at a cost to the city of $2,000 a year for two decades.

The cemetery district is a more than 70-year-old public agency that owns, maintains and preserves historic cemeteries in the western part of the county for the public.

It operates 27 public cemeteries in western Nevada County and is funded by a combination of property taxes, sales of interment rights and service charges and fees and is governed by a five-member board appointed by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

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The issue barely skirted through the planning commission at the end of March, when its members were strictly tasked with determining whether such a handoff meets the city's long-term guiding policies.

Commissioners voted 3-2 that the plan did meet those guidelines, amid much debate internally and even among attending members of the public.

Several other items on the council's agenda today deal with various taxes' revenues.

In addition to hearing an update on an old sales tax, Measure S, and scheduling a community meeting to discuss proposed expenditures of new sales tax revenues, from Measure L, the city is also scheduled to discuss a nearly $27,000 settlement with Nevada County about property tax disbursement over a period of six years.

Following a state Supreme Court decision about the way Los Angeles County disbursed property taxes to the city of Alhambra, Nevada City requested the county reimburse approximately $125,000 in overcharges in December 2012 for calculating in a similar fashion during 2006 to 2012.

In settling for about $27,000, the county asserted that it did not have to pay the first half of that time frame because of a three-year statute of limitations.

"The city has determined that legal action to compel a full reimbursement would be expensive and counterproductive," reads a report on the matter DeGraw prepared.

The city is also tasked with reviewing a proposed ordinance to address negative impacts at Hirschman's Pond from people diverting off intended trails and walking their dogs without leashes, among other issues.

After the public portion of their meeting, the council will meet in a closed session, as it always does when it has sensitive legal, real estate or other matters to address.

In today's closed session, the city will meet with the police chief about an appointment or employment matter and will discuss two property negations.

The first of the property matters is consideration of acquisition of 213-215 Washington St. from the Nevada City School District.

The second matter also is a potential acquisition of property from the county, located at 161 Nevada City Highway.

Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at Nevada City Hall, located at 317 Broad St. downtown.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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