Cuts will hurt us, city and county officials tell Davis |

Cuts will hurt us, city and county officials tell Davis

Nevada County officials continue to brace themselves for budgetary shortfalls. But they will not go without a fight and they may get their way.

This week the Grass Valley City Council and the Board of Supervisors approved resolutions urging the state legislature to reject Gov. Gray Davis’ proposal to cut the funds cities and counties receive in the form of vehicle license fees.

In Sacramento, former Gov. Jerry Brown predicted Wednesday the state Senate would reject the Assembly’s attempt to boost vehicle license fees to head off the local government budget cuts.

Gov. Davis, Brown’s former chief of staff, conceded that cities and counties were in no immediate danger of losing about $4 billion in state aid that is preventing those cuts.

Their comments culminated a day of lobbying by seven big city mayors who want the state either to raise vehicle license fees or to continue to provide enough aid to make up for the revenue the fee increases would provide.

Gov. Gray Davis has proposed to divert $4.2 billion in vehicle license fee payments from cities and counties to offset the state’s financial crisis.

“If that happens,” Grass Valley Mayor Patti Ingram said, “we’re going to be in a lot of hurt.”

“Who knows what else they might think of tapping,” she said.

Grass Valley could lose up to $217,890 this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and another $467,062 next fiscal year, according to the League of California Cities. The vehicle license fees revenues represent 8 percent of Grass Valley’s general fund.

Nevada City, whose police chief, Lou Trovato, was in Sacramento Tuesday with other police chiefs to lobby state senators against the cuts, could lose $59,593 this year and another $126,861 the next year, the League of California Cities estimates.

The county could lose $3.7 million to $5.7 million next fiscal year, according to county figures, $1.1 million of which could come from the public safety budget.

“That’s a lot of money,” Laura Matteson, the county’s deputy county executive officer, said Wednesday.

The county receives approximately $135 million in annual revenues. But all but approximately $25 million is spent on mandates – monies county officials have very limited local control of.

Exactly what the state legislature will do is anyone’s guess.

“It’s such a fluid situation,” Sue Horne, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, said Wednesday. “We’re taking a very fiscally conservative approach in projecting our revenues.”

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