Nevada County supervisors implement fees for Rood Center
Requests for use of the Eric Rood Administrative Center have grown.
Many organizations want to use the Nevada City government center. It’s free, well-lit and spacious.
That use has led to issues, the county’s Chief Information Officer Stephen Monaghan said Tuesday as he introduced a set of fees that, starting immediately, will come with renting the building.
“We’ve got hundreds of organizations that are looking for community space,” Monaghan told the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.
Audio-visual equipment has been affected. Homeless people have entered the building after hours and tried to stay overnight. No county staff is on site during after-hour meetings, Monaghan said.
The fees proposed by Monaghan and approved by supervisors call for varying rates. Using board chambers now costs $75 an hour on weekdays and $250 an hour on weekends. Both come with two-hour minimums.
There’s also a $35 hourly security fee for board chambers and a flat $150 deposit for security and cleaning.
The fees will help recoup the cost of outside groups using the facility.
Some exemptions exist. For example, a group hosting a candidate forum that’s televised wouldn’t pay. The same group holding a meeting would shoulder the cost, County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green said.
“We understand that there are concerns about security, but we have long used this specific facility for the majority of our meetings,” said Claudia Taylor, an elected member of the Nevada County Republican Party, in her written comments. “Over the past 25 or more years we have never had an incident requiring law enforcement to be called while we were meeting.”
Nicole Raglin, with the Nevada County Green Party, said her group has experienced no issues when meeting on the same nights as the local Republicans. She’s concerned about losing access to a well-lighted building with law enforcement nearby.
“Our concerns are that you want to monetize a facility that is paid for by the public,” Raglin added.
Supervisor Ed Scofield, a former CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, called the fees reasonable. Supervisor Dan Miller said they are a cost recovery program.
Supervisor Heidi Hall, who attended the meeting remotely, questioned whether all groups using the facility received equal treatment. She suggested certain large meetings, like a gathering about fire safety, should be exempt from fees.
The board opted to remove language restricting political groups from using the building. It then voted 4-0 to approve, with Hall abstaining.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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