Other Voices: Nevada City needs to take a closer look at itself
I was appalled by the “report” issued May 17 regarding the state of Nevada City. The city clerk is being cited as the culprit, but where were the city council members, the mayor, the city manager, and the city treasurer?
It is hard to believe that the city has no accountability to the taxpayers and the business owners of Nevada City. There should be a system of checks and balances when dealing with public funds and assets. Why does the city not have a “standard procedures and operations manual” with job descriptions, responsibilities, duties and other pertinent information and policies listed?
The whole report is full of ludicrous facts. I sweat bullets if I think our checking account might be overdrawn for a dollar or two, and here the city overdrafts by $472,850.91. (I might miss more than a minute’s sleep over that much!) And you can bet your bottom dollar I would be waiting at the bank’s door to deposit the 12 undeposited checks amounting to $14,173.00. (Although, if the above was my overdraft, I might just as well be saying “Hasta la vista, baby” and heading off to sunnier climes instead!)
How do you manage to run up a water and sewer bill for $28,000 (that’s a lot of … ) and be able to skip out on it letting the city hold the bag? Who in their right mind would pay insurance premiums for 14 years after they sold a vehicle? Fourteen processes, procedures or functions were rated from 1 to 5 (1 being excellent, 2 is good, 3 is fair, 4 is poor and 5 does not meet minimum standards), 12 of those came it at 5, with another one at 4 and only one making a 2. What does that say? Something tells me that I could not stay in business if I ran ours this way! Oh, well. No one’s perfect. What’s a little mistake here and there?
In light of what has been revealed, it seems entirely inappropriate to have made the recent acquisition of Herschman’s Pond, taken over the maintenance and running of the Veterans Building and to have held a four-day (non-event) party celebrating the city. Additionally, they want to blow large sum of funds on a Web site. We need that like another pothole on Boulder Street. The city cannot even maintain what it already is supposed to, and here it continues to squander public funds. Does anyone question why the streets are in a such poor state of repair?
The city professes to be in favor of tourism and business. Not only are the streets in a sorry state, the sidewalks are absolutely abominable. The decrepit old gas station at the entry to the Historical District (vacant for about five years) is allowed to become overgrown with weeds and junk and fall into a further states of rack and ruin. And this is to say nothing of the lack of proper street signage. To top it off, they won’t even open the restrooms in City Hall to the public on weekends or during special events. Do you think that maybe their actions speak louder than their words?
It appears that we were some of the stupid ones to pay for our business licenses and to have paid our water and sewer bills. But then we did not know that these were optional!
Frankly, it looks like a bunch of pre-school children playing at “store.” It is quite obvious that our city officials are totally inept at running the town. It seems like this would be a good time for a clean sweep of City Hall, a time for qualified people and for sweeping changes in how the city is managed.
Gary J. Stollery owns Brigadoon Books in Nevada City.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.