Nevada City holds open house for Measure C
Nevada City held the third of five informational open house meetings Tuesday to educate the general public about Measure C, which will be on the November ballot.
The 3/8 cent per dollar sales tax being proposed by Measure C, if passed by two-thirds of Nevada City voters, would raise an estimated $432,000 annually with proceeds to be used exclusively for fire and police protection.
The city says those funds are necessary to keep the city operating within the five-minute response time set by the National Fire Protection Association, which could be a challenge for the city if it can’t secure the Measure C funding.
In 2015, Nevada City saw its response times start to slip to an average of 7:41 minutes following a Nevada County Consolidated Fire District decision to end a co-staffing arrangement that kept Nevada City’s Fire Station No. 54 staffed around the clock.
Nevada City’s attempts to operate the station without the three firefighters assigned by Nevada County Consolidated forced the city to implement rotating brown-outs that left the station closed and unmanned for 48-hour periods.
When response times began to consistently exceed five minutes, the city was informed that it would have to downgrade its fire insurance rating if it couldn’t fix the staffing issue, which would result in higher home insurance costs for city residents.
The city hired two new firefighters in June 2015, dipping into the temporary Measure L sales tax funds and effectively eliminating the brown-outs.
Measure L, the general sales tax revenue generator previously approved by Nevada City voters, is set to expire in March 2018. Measure C would create funds dedicated to hire the three firefighters needed to keep Station 54 open year-round, as well as to add an additional police officer to the existing 10-man squad.
Nevada City residents Marianna and Stephen Greenberg were some of those in attendance Tuesday. The couple described a recent hike to a vista that overlooks the city and were reminded of how many trees the city is shrouded by.
“You forget how much combustible material there is here,” Marianna Greenberg recalled.
She also was completely unaware that funds from Measure C would also be used to add a police officer to the city, until after the open house.
The couple, residents of the city since 1992, said that they support the measure and will be voting for it in November “so that when we call, they will be on to our house in seconds,” the Greenbergs said.
If Measure C doesn’t receive the votes needed to pass in November, Nevada City officials will have to find new monies or make cuts to existing services, according to City Manager Mark Prestwich.
The next Measure C open-house meetings are set for Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon at Fire Station 54, as well as on Nov. 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park.
Those with any additional questions can go to http://www.nevadacityca.gov/newsview.aspx?nid=5884 or contact City Manager Mark Prestwich via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Staff Writer Elias Funez, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.
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