Nevada City police funding won’t go to additional officer
After initially passing on funds earmarked to hire an additional enforcement officer this month, Nevada City has agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Nevada County that will provide $120,000 in additional funding to the Nevada City Police Department.
In July the Board of Supervisors accepted an expenditure plan for its $10 million state Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation, which included between $250,000-$500,000 in funding for police department staff throughout the county. The Grass Valley City Council accepted over $100,000 in county funding for its police department to reimburse officers for overtime and other enforcement expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic this month.
At a council meeting this month Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis said hiring the additional officer would be difficult because the state requires the funding to be spent by the end of the year, with only a few weeks left to recruit for the temporary position. After this year, the position would not be funded.
“It’s just not reasonable,” Ellis said.
During that meeting the council directed staff to look into other ways the money could be used, noting the money was needed, but not for the purpose outlined in the memorandum.
“We weren’t denying the money because we thought it was a bad idea, it was because we didn’t think we could use it as directed,” Councilman Doug Fleming said at a Wednesday council meeting.
It was decided Wednesday that the police department will instead use the funding to cover an officer already assigned to COVID-19-related code enforcement, related legal issues, and for the time already spent on education or enforcement actions by the department. The city will also explore whether city staff time used for enforcement and education in support of the police department could be reimbursed with the funds.
“I’m glad we went back an re-looked at it, at this point in our evolution as a city we have to fight for every dollar that we can find. We can’t leave any money on the table,” Fleming said. “Even though it’s being directed to the police department in a time where things are being questioned, it’s just to pay for police that are already there. It’s going to allow us to free up some of that salary and use it for other things we’re going to be spending money on.”
Several public commenters asked the council not to accept the funding.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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