Big divide among merchants after Nevada City vote
Despite hope that opponents and supporters of the Nevada City Downtown Association can mend fences, this week’s red-hot rhetoric didn’t indicate smoother times ahead.
Wednesday night’s 4-1 Nevada City Council vote appeared easy after the association’s opponents and proponents vented their anger at one another. Councilman Steve Cottrell cast the lone no vote.
“The only thing they have accomplished is to divide the business community,” said Gary Stollery, owner of Toad Hall Books, referring to association members. “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”
“I don’t take issue with anyone who wants to take issue with the merits,” said Jim McConnaughay, chairman of the association. But he said he and his fellow board members received threats. “I think that’s really sad.”
Some business owners said they didn’t get proper notice of the proposed fee schedule modeled after the one used by the Grass Valley Downtown Association, which places businesses in zones depending on where the business is located. Only 25 percent of the downtown district’s business owners staged formal protests to the new rate structure.
The association leader and most council members countered that the only notice required by state law is 10 days and business owners received 14 days notice.
Resident Bill Pranckitas tried addressing what he’d heard this week about alleged arguing in the streets and subsequent threats.
“Get over the anger,” Pranckitas said. “Everyone has to grow up … It’s $20 to $30 a month!”
“This marketing is not free,” Pranckitas added.
Fees also are based on the number of workers in the business. Most businesses on Broad and Pine streets could pay between $100 and $343 per year, based on a large number of businesses with just one or two workers.
Most businesses within the rest of the district, including Spring and Commercial streets, could pay between $154 and $286. Before, most retail shops were required to pay $360 per year.
The fees are expected to generate about $32,000, compared to this year’s nearly $45,000, to improve the downtown district. Projects have included new benches, a sidewalk sale, cleaning of sidewalks and holiday placement of flags.
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4234.
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