Nevada County Grand Jury releases report on special districts
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To read the entire Nevada County Grand Jury report on “Special Districts: What the Public Should Know,” go to http://nccourt.net/documents/gjreports/1819-SPD-SurveyReport.pdf.
The 2018-19 Nevada County Grand Jury on Friday released a report on the county’s special districts, “What the Public Should Know.”
The grand jury looked at 24 special districts that are independent — meaning they are governed by an elected or appointed board — and that have oversight by the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission. These included eight fire districts, four recreation and park districts, four community service districts, three water districts, two cemetery districts, one public utility district that provides both water and electricity, one sanitation (wastewater) district, and one resource conservation district.
The surveyed special districts are funded by a combination of taxes, service fees, grants, and other revenues, and have annual operating budgets ranging from $12,800 to $59.5 million.
The report noted special districts must comply with a number of state laws that help protect or aid consumers. The Public Records Act requires that all public records maintained by state and local agencies be made available to all members of the public. The special district audit requirement allows residents to access audits of every special district within the county. A website requirement specifies districts have a website with contact information. The Brown Act guarantees residents’ rights to attend and participate in special district meetings, including the rights to be given notice of meeting topics and to record meetings.
“Not all districts surveyed were in full compliance with legal requirements or industry best practices,” the report stated. “Special districts should ensure they are meeting all legal requirements, such as maintaining the minimum number of board members and keeping their financials and audits up to date.”
The special districts should consider establishing citizen oversight committees and perform more public outreach, the report concluded.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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