Nevada County Board of Supervisors approves rate hikes for animal shelter, with some tweaks |

Nevada County Board of Supervisors approves rate hikes for animal shelter, with some tweaks

A Tuesday vote of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to hike animal control fees and audit the nonprofit that operates the shelter led the group’s co-founder to question if she’d continue working with the county.

The board voted unanimously to accept most of the recommended fee increases made by the sheriff’s office, the first bump for many of them in 10 years.

They tweaked two of those recommendations — the owner turn-in and first day boarding fees for dogs — and called for an in-depth audit of the shelter run by Sammie’s Friends.

That led Cheryl Wicks, co-founder of Sammie’s Friends, to note an outside firm already performs a yearly audit of the McCourtney Road facility.

She questioned if staff had the time to participate in another audit.

“We’re getting dangerously close to turning in our contract,” she said.

Board Chairman Ed Scofield, who noted earlier that Sammie’s Friends and the sheriff’s office had reached an impasse, said he wanted more cooperation and transparency. He then put the fee hike and audit to a vote.

The board, altering the owner turn-in and first day boarding fee for dogs, opted for $36 for both. Officials will add another $14 if, in the case of a boarded dog, it stays overnight.

Sammie’s Friends and the sheriff’s office had agreed on all fee increases, except the first day boarding fee. The sheriff proposed $30 and the nonprofit favored $50.

“This should be reviewed every two years,” Supervisor Hank Weston said of the fees, at one point praising Sammie’s Friends. Weston wanted to implement the fee hike immediately.

Supervisor Nate Beason, who also lauded the nonprofit, suggested completing an audit of the group before adding the increased fees. He called for a comprehensive financial report.

“We’re not exactly sure where we are,” he added, noting an audit could reveal money the shelter should receive. “We need to look at the financials and have an audit.”

Sheriff’s Sgt. Sam Brown, who works with the shelter, said he’s received some financial reports from the nonprofit. However, he doesn’t receive everything.

Wicks said local firm McSweeney and Associates performs an audit each year. Brown said minutes later the audit isn’t in-depth.

The board then voted to start an audit and increase the fees, effective Jan. 1.

After the vote, CEO Rick Haffey said his office would work with the sheriff’s office and minimize any impact of the audit to Sammie’s Friends.

In other matters the board:

— Unanimously approved new fees for trash collection.

Late fees will be 2.5 percent of the bill, or 5 percent, whichever is greater.

Cart replacement will cost $83.91, though customers can receive a free cart every four years.

Bad checks will cost $25. Switching a bin or cart for a different size will cost $45 or $75, respectively.

The new fees become effective Nov. 19.

— Entered a closed-door session to discuss litigation in the Erickson v. County of Nevada case.

The suit was filed by owners of a ridgeline property in Penn Valley who want to build an office/garage. The county has opposed the construction, arguing it would impact the “visually important ridgeline.”

Supervisors also entered a closed-door meeting to discuss issues posing a threat to the security of public buildings.

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

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