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Beason tackles issues

Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason spoke about issues ranging from traffic to the budget to problems with illegal drugs during a press conference Thursday at the Rood Administrative Center.

“We’re sound,” Beason said regarding the county’s $150 million budget. Beason said the county has $12 million in reserve funding for 2006 and $2 to $3 million which has not yet been designated for specific uses.

During the conference, which was the first the Board of Supervisors chair has called, Beason responded to criticism that Nevada County government has not done enough to garner federal funds. He said the county applied for approximately $8 million in federal grants last year and received $3.2 million.



The Nevada County supervisor also addressed complaints regarding what some say is a lack of action by local government.

“We’re not hands off; we’re just not trying to steer the boat at the department level,” said Beason.




As for taking action to prevent accidents on Highway 49, Beason said, “The immediate solution is enforcement,” referring to the need for reducing reckless driving on the highway.

He said the county does have plans to widen Highway 49.

However, “When will they come to fruition – that’s the question,” Beason said.

The supervisor also spoke about the need to hire and retain qualified staff in government offices, adding that Nevada County faces competition for its employees from sources such as Placer County.

Difficulties with finding funding for qualified government workers are compounded, he said, because the county must also deal with increasing costs of pension benefits.

Other issues Beason addressed included accommodation problems at the jail, which he said is experiencing difficulty housing inmates because of a growing number of women at the facility.

As for the issue of methamphetamine abuse, Beason said the county is hopefully taking steps to combat the problem by raising awareness, which could lead people to report suspected criminals to police more frequently.

“Have we done anything today that is measurable?” Beason asked regarding the drug problem. “Probably not.”

Beason said he didn’t want to pass laws making some of meth’s ingredients more difficult to acquire because of the burden such a law might impose on people who are using those substances legally.

To contact staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail joshs@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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