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Nevada County relies on reserves; Truckee making cuts

Dave Moller
Sun News Service

NEVADA COUNTY ” Nevada County’s $19.5 million in reserves will carry it through the current economic downturn, but Truckee, Grass Valley and Nevada City are looking at fiscal struggles ahead.

“We have to forget about traditions and turf and work together,” said County Supervisors Chairman Hank Weston at the 2009 State of the County, Cities and Town meeting Friday.

Leaders from Nevada County’s four government entities discussed their financial plights at the quarterly gathering, although no formal collective plans were unfurled

“This financial implode will force all of us to look at how we do things and perhaps do some together,” Weston said.

Nevada County has kept solvent by building its reserves since the turn of the century and not spending them to balance the budget, Weston said. That means the county has plenty of rainy day money ‹ now that a storm has hit.

But county finances face trouble ahead, apart from flat or declining property tax revenues.

“We still have a crisis looming after the last election,” Weston said. The

state will soon “borrow” about $2.7 million in county property taxes to balance California’s budget, payable in three years.

“But you know they’ll delay it. Nothing’s guaranteed,” Weston said.

Despite a rough year, the county has secured new hangers for the county airport, repaved 19 miles of road, finalized a countywide fire plan and finished the $22 million wastewater treatment plant at Lake of the Pines.

Truckee Mayor Dr. Mark Brown said the tax hit to his community was $900,000, which could hurt the all-important snow removal budget there this year. The city has set aside some money, but will not fill vacant positions, will need to reduce overtime to balance the budget and probably won’t expand services for five years, Brown said.

To grow revenues, the city is looking at using its tourist infrastructure year-round and is building an economic strategy, Brown said.


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