Shifting of funds OK’d for NH 2020 |

Shifting of funds OK’d for NH 2020

Nevada County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to take money from next year’s budget to pay for an economic impact analysis of their controversial long-range planning program.

The board approved a budget amendment to take money from the county Planning Department portion of the General Fund for next fiscal year to pay for a $20,000 economic impact analysis and $10,000 to finish mapping watersheds.

But expenditures for NH 2020 are on budget and on time, Supervisor Peter Van Zant stressed.

Supervisor Sue Horne said she understood that $18,649 was earmarked for an economic and fiscal impact analysis. The money instead went to hire another county employee and pay other expenses, said Mark Tomich, county planning director.

Critics of the program, which supervisors began in May 2000, have asked repeatedly what the program will cost. Property rights activists have said they fear the program will result in the county seeking to buy private property to be preserved as open space, and activists don’t want tax funds used.

Earmarking $20,000 for an analysis is in response to a request from James Meshwert of NH 2020’s Community Advisory Committee, Supervisor Elizabeth Martin said.

Martin said Meshwert was concerned that money be ready and available when the program comes to fruition – early next year – instead of waiting for the end of the budget year 2002-03.

The original budget for NH 2020 of $220,000 did not include staff time, said Kateri Harrison, county resource planner.

The Sierra Business Council, which agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost of the program, has paid salaries for two full-time and two part-time employees. Other council employees work on the program as well. The council’s budget for calendar year 2002 is estimated at $400,000.

The council also pays Peter Brussard, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee, travel expenses for SAC members, snacks at NH 2020 meetings and public outreach such as three newsletters, brochures and an NH 2020 Web site.

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