Supes approve $180M budget
Public safety is the most important thing in Nevada County, according to county supervisors, who approved a budget Tuesday including $59 million to protect the county’s 100,000 people.
That’s the biggest slice of the county’s “expenditures by function” in a $180 million budget and will go to the county sheriff’s office and 18 other public protection services and programs.
The Sheriff’s Office will receive $28 million which will help create nine new positions including three deputy sheriffs to better patrol outlying areas including Washington, North San Juan and the Greenhorn Creek area. Residents of these rural areas of the county have complained of long response times to issues with juveniles after hours, trespassing, partying and trash.
Sheriff Keith Royal also will gain three correctional officers and three office assistants.
The sheriff’s office has had four people retire in the last six to eight months, and two more will retire in the next year. Retired officers known as “reserves” have been filling in where needed for several years, and officers have been working overtime, Royal said.
“I think we’ve had to work hard to fill some of the holes,” Royal said. Seven students are attending a local academy and plan to join the force when they finish in 10 months, he added.
The District Attorney’s office gained a new deputy district attorney and a new investigator. The county probation department will get two new officers.
Public safety departments receive general fund money, which makes up 34 percent of the county budget.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved the budget as written Tuesday after a grueling, all-day hearing. Salaries and benefit costs for county employees are 43.4 percent of the budget, a decrease from last year’s 44.75 percent.
Other areas addressed by the county budget:
• Several areas of the county’s future depend on the fate of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for statewide health coverage.
• County income from property taxes is growing more slowly. Tax revenue grew 12 percent in 2006/07, but is projected to grow 7 percent in 2007/2008.
• Building and planning department fees will increase by hundreds of dollars for new construction in the county beginning July 1.
• The county’s workforce was reduced from 1,054 to 986 by relying on county nonprofits to make up losses incurred through county department reorganization.
• Road and mental health funding from the state and federal levels improved this year.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@theunion .com or call 477-4231.
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