County, town talk jail services
Nevada County and the Town of Truckee have yet to determine exactly what level of presence the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office will have here once the Truckee Police Department begins operations Sept. 1.
The indecision is now affecting county budget discussions for the upcoming year.
Some Truckee representatives are worried that insufficient funding for the substation and jail at the current NCSO facility may lead to problems paying for its operation later this year.
“What our concern is, now that we shift to our own police department, is whether the county will continue to fund a jail in Truckee or not,” said Steve Wright, Truckee town manager.
Some worry the jail may even have to close or curtail operation hours, but Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said that he doesn’t believe the jail will close.
“My goal is that it won’t close,” said Royal. “My goal is that we can come to some negotiations to provide the 24-hour jail. I think it’s a necessity. My only difficulty is in finding adequate funding in time.”
“The sheriff’s plan and my plan have been to maintain excellent service up here in the Truckee area,” said NCSO Capt. Gary Jacobson.
Three million dollars of the $127 million county budget for 2001-2002 had originally been planned for the Truckee substation’s operation with its current full staff, said Barbara Green, Nevada County 5th District supervisor.
The problem is, that money was planned assuming Truckee wouldn’t have a police department of its own. No amount has been nailed down to determine the station’s funding assuming the Truckee Police Department does get underway Sept. 1.
“That’s under the assumption there’s no police department,” said Green. “We don’t have the information we need to figure how much we really will need.”
Currently, Nevada County pays for jail operations in Truckee, using property tax revenue. The Truckee Police Department plans to use the NCSO’s jail and dispatch facilities.
Sheriff Royal has said that Placer County has shown interest in cooperating with Nevada County and Truckee on possible jail and dispatch facilities, and the California Highway Patrol may also be a partner.
“I want to make this work, but I just need funding, and it’s going to have to come from either the Town or the Board of Supervisors,” said Royal.
Royal said he believes a regional jail and dispatch facility combining elements of Placer and Nevada County might be the best solution for the area.
“Realistically, I think this regional approach is going to open up some doors,” he said. “We all recognize the benefit of having a facility in this region.”
Truckee Town Councilman Josh Susman traveled to Nevada City Tuesday to address the Nevada County Board of Supervisors during their budget negotiations, and, he said, to give a voice to Truckee residents.
Susman said the Town of Truckee is fully prepared to pay whatever is equitable for its share of jail and dispatch use, but the county will still need to maintain a presence here.
“There are unincorporated areas such as Floriston to consider that (Truckee Police Department) won’t cover,” he said. “To say that the entire cost should be borne by Truckee is inaccurate.”
Wright said that if the county does intend to change the law enforcement services it offers in eastern Nevada County, the public should be involved in the decision-making process.
“I would encourage the Board of Supervisors to have some sort of public hearing or process up here if they’re going to change their level of services,” said Wright.
“The western county has a fully-funded jail and police service and we are entitled to the same amount of service,” added Susman.
Green said that negotiations will continue and that hopefully an arrangement for jail and dispatch services will be made by June 26, when the county 2001-2002 budget must be signed.
“I don’t want the impression that we’re not trying to find an agreement because we are,” said Green. “(But) we’re down to the short hairs and we need to know how the numbers are going to shake out.”
“My hopes are that by the end of the month we’re going to have a resolution,” said Royal.
The Board of Supervisors will meet again Tuesday, June 12 at the Rood Center in Nevada City to discuss the 2001-2002 budget. For more information, call (888) 883-7040.
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