Nevada City OKs sales tax for ballot |

Nevada City OKs sales tax for ballot

The Nevada City City Council voted to include a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot Monday to pay for major road repairs. The City Council also heard complaints related to the city clerk controversy.

The one-half percent sales tax measure – for road and sidewalk repair – requires two-thirds approval by voters, Councilmember Steve Cottrell has said previously.

Nevada City currently spends $30,000 annually for road repair, which is insufficient to achieve significant improvements, a city report states. The sales tax measure would generate an estimated $450,000 annually, according to the report, totaling $7.2 million over the course of its 16 years.

Most of Monday’s public comment was directed not toward the sales tax measure, however, but rather toward the city clerk position, which now has three candidates vying for the position in an election race that usually fields just one person.

Current City Clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes was placed on paid administrative leave from her other position as Nevada City office operations supervisor on April 25. An investigation of the city’s business systems reveals that it may have lost $200,000 by failing to collect revenue for water, sewer and business license fees.

M. Catherine Jones, attorney for Wilcox-Barnes, spoke soon after the meeting was called to order. She questioned the City Council’s approval of minutes from a prior meeting – which council members were in the process of doing – as her client had not prepared them.

City Attorney Jim Anderson said the minutes would be submitted to Wilcox-Barnes, who was not present at the meeting, for approval. The minutes were taken by Tammy Byrd.

The council voted to approve the minutes, with Cottrell being the lone dissenting vote.

Abigail Givens, a local resident, said at the meeting she had recently had difficulty viewing public records on Deer Creek Park II, asking if that resulted from not having a city clerk present at City Hall whose job is to make such records available.

Wilcox-Barnes has said that after being placed on leave from her full-time paid position, she has had difficulty performing city clerk duties, citing the lack of access to her original office as one problem.

Givens added that she had read the report on the office supervisor position and other city business practices, which was made available May 16. She said it would be a “miracle” if one person could perform all of those duties.

City Attorney Jim Anderson has said the report was not meant to place blame on a single employee. Wilcox-Barnes was the only one placed on administrative leave.


To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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