Nevada County judge to hold hearing on half-cent sales tax

Alan Riquelmy / The Union

A Nevada County judge in about two weeks will decide if Measure V — the half-cent sales tax initiative set for the November ballot — will get changed.

Audrey Pruett on Monday filed a petition in Nevada County Superior Court seeking, among other things, a requirement that the half-penny tax pass by a two-thirds majority, and that the language of the ballot measure be changed.

A judge on Tuesday set the stage for attorneys in the case to file written arguments before a hearing occurs either Sept. 9 or 12.

A decision must occur no later than Sept. 13, as Nevada County’s ballots must print by the following day.

“It’s the only way they can ensure we meet our statutory deadlines,” County Counsel Kit Elliott said Tuesday in court of the printer’s schedule.

Attorney Barry Pruett, who’s representing his wife Audrey in the matter, states in the Monday filing that the tax initiative is “special,” as opposed to its current “general” designation, because the ballot question states specific purposes on which money would be spent.

“Unless the Court were to amend the Ballot Label to eliminate the list of special purposes, the Court should find and declare that Measure V would impose a special tax and that therefore Measure V is subject to two-thirds voter approval,” the filing states.

A general tax, which the measure is currently labeled, only needs a simple majority to pass.

Barry Pruett also argues that by using the symbol “¢”, instead of “%”, on the ballot question isn’t accurate. Additionally, Pruett argues the tax will raise only $9.5 million a year, not the $12 million officials claim.

Elliott on Tuesday told the judge she can show Pruett how county officials reached the $12 million figure. She also said that Pruett was in her office on Monday, and could have asked to meet with her then.

“We’re on the 10th day of when he could file,” Elliott said, referring to a legal deadline.

Alan Riquelmy is the managing editor of The Union. He can be reached at or 530-477-4249.

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