Funding for extra officers not needed in Nevada City, officials say |

Funding for extra officers not needed in Nevada City, officials say

The Nevada City Council voted to reject more than $100,000 in county funding that would have allowed the city to hire an additional officer to enforce COVID-19 mandates.

Last month the Board of Supervisors accepted an expenditure plan for its $10 million state Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation, which included between $250,000-$500,000 in funding for police department staff throughout Nevada County.

But according to Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis, the extra staffing was not needed and would be hard to implement with the strings that come attached to the state funding, which must be spent by the end of the year. Ellis said Nevada City already has one officer dedicated to COVID-19-related education and compliance, and with only one business not in compliance, the additional personnel would be hard to recruit.

“It’s just not reasonable,” he said.

Councilwoman Daniela Fernandez said during last week’s meeting that she was also concerned about the council funding the police department amid racial unrest and protest violence.

“I don’t know that adding another police officer is the right thing to do right now,” Fernandez said.

The city will instead ask the county to use the money for other COVID-19-related costs, like improving the downtown outdoor dining area.

“The city could absolutely use the money right now,” Mayor Erin Minett said. “We just don’t need it for what they’re asking us to use it for.”

The Grass Valley City Council accepted over $100,000 in county funding for its police department to reimburse officers for overtime and other enforcement expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the council’s staff report, the Grass Valley Police Department also does not need to hire an additional officer dedicated to enforcement, with efforts focusing on education.

“They were a little disappointed about the limited scope it had to be used for,” said Tim Kiser, Grass Valley city manager, about the council’s vote. “They would have rather been able to provide some of that to the community. The way the county (memorandum of understanding) was written it needed to go toward enforcement.”

A memorandum of understanding outlining funds for the Truckee Police Department has not come before the Town Council.

Nevada City was directly awarded $50,000 in state Coronavirus Relief Funds, though plans for how those funds will be used has not been finalized, with the city yet to receive disbursement.

Grass Valley was allocated $159,000 in state Coronavirus Relief Fund, which among other expenses will be used to reimburse the city’s information technology costs associated with moving the city’s meetings and functions online.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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