Measure C would help pay for more police and fire in Nevada City |

Measure C would help pay for more police and fire in Nevada City

Nevada City City Manager Mark Prestwich speaks with those in attendance at a Measure C open house at City Hall.
Elias Funez/ |

The failure of the Higgins Fire District’s most recent tax measure at the polls weighs on David Painter, the treasurer of the Yes on Measure C Committee.

Measure C, if passed on Nov. 8 by 66.7 percent of Nevada City voters, would enact a three-eighths-of-a-cent sales tax for police and fire services in the town, pushing the town’s sales tax to 8.875 percent.

If passed, the sales tax would become effective April 1.

The sales tax revenue, expected to exceed $430,000 a year, would pay for three firefighters and another police officer.

“Both of these help the city of Nevada City quite a lot,” Painter said.

The possibility of Measure C failing makes Painter think of the Higgins vote. That fire district’s board closed a station and laid off six employees after the failed August 2015 measure. Some Higgins homeowners have reported massive insurance increases.

“I’d hate to see that same thing happen with Nevada City,” Painter added.

Measure C has no formal opposition.

City Manager Mark Prestwich said the measure’s failure would force the town to find new revenue or reduce services.

Measure A, which would raise a sales tax to the library system to a quarter-cent, would make Nevada City’s total sales tax hit 9 percent if both pass. The town’s sales tax would remain unchanged until March 31, 2018, when an existing city tax would roll off, making the new rate 8.625 percent.

After the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District removed three of its firefighters from Fire Station 54 in 2015, the city hired a fourth firefighter to operate two of its three 48-hour shifts in order to keep the station running. The city also implemented a brownout schedule, but staff soon discovered that response time increased by nearly two minutes during brownout days. City officials allocated $100,000 from Measure L to pay for two limited-term firefighters at Station 54 to eliminate the rotating brownout schedule as a temporary solution.

Fire Station 54 is one of the seven stations in the Joint Operational Area that includes Grass Valley, Nevada City and the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District. The Consolidated Fire District and Nevada City engaged in a co-staffing relationship at the fire station for 11 years before Consolidated pulled out in 2015.

Click the following links to view the actual text of Measure C, as well as an argument in favor of the measure. No opposing argument was filed.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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