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December 11, 2012
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Supes approve road safety improvements

Residents can expect improvements to county roads as roughly $10 million a year will be provided to the Nevada County Department of Public Works for the next five years.

“Basic road safety and maintenance is fully funded,” said Nevada County Transportation Planner David Garcia Jr. during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The five-year program is set to cost $58 million in safety projects, routine road maintenance, 100 miles of chip seal — thin temporary road overlays — 18.5 miles of asphalt overlays; bridge replacements and rehabilitations; development fee capacity projects; and administration and support.

The largest prospective project is for a signalized crosswalk between Lake of the Pines and surrounding elementary schools for $45,000.

Thermal striping, which is a more reflective and longer lasting pavement stripe, is also going to be funded for $290,000.

The Purdon Bridge will also be experiencing an upgrade costing $1 million, though Garcia said the upgrade should not be very disruptive as the bridge does not experience a lot of traffic.

No money was allotted for purchasing equipment in the next five years, as the primary focus was on public safety, an area of added importance for Nevada County as the top 10-15 percent of accidents take place in rural areas, Director of Public Works Steve Castleberry said.

“As much as we don’t like the prospect of using old equipment, putting the funds into road and safety is a better investment,” Castleberry said.

The goal of the Public Works Department’s involvement in the meeting was to lay out a preliminary plan, and once the budget is finalized in January, the plan will be implemented.

Board members said they were pleased with the efforts of Public Works, hoping that the federal and state funding for the plan will be finalized, as budgets on that level can still change.

“You guys did an exemplary job on this plan,” said Supervisor Ed Scofield.

“Hopefully the funding will come in to be there to do these projects.”

Some financial points addressed were that funds from Prop 1B, which provided bond funds for a variety of transportation priorities, are depleted; revenue from the motor vehicle fees and gas tax is down about 10 percent; and MAP-21 was passed, which is the revised federal legislation that provides funding for surface transportation programs

Film commission to represent Nevada County

The Board of Supervisors also authorized Northeast California Counties Film Commission to act as Nevada County’s regional film partner, providing location services and promoting Nevada County as a potential film location.

“I was designated as their regional film partner to attract and stimulate location filming for a broad spectrum of projects with anything involving a commercial camera shoot,” said S.A. “Sam” Jernigan, commissioner at the film commission.

Because Nevada County did not have a designated film commission, Beverly Lewis of the Lake Tahoe Film Office served film crews interested in Truckee, which was outside of her designated range.

Competition between film commissions in the area is an expected challenge, as landscape similarity exists, yet the exposure from a film project generates revenue.

“The film commissions are competing for the same pie when locales are similar and there’s the question of who’s going to get the revenue.” Jernigan said.

Jernigan hopes to bring cohesion and exposure to Nevada County to generate exposure through film projects.

“Most film commissioners are passive, and I am not going to be passive,” Jernigan said.

The infrastructure for the commission’s involvement in Nevada County is not solidified yet, but further plans will be released mid-January.

“I’m not willing to expand at present, but this was a key puzzle piece and everything is on track and moving forward,” Jernigan said.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

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The Union Updated Dec 11, 2012 10:28PM Published Dec 12, 2012 07:16PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.