No decision in Nevada County sales tax measure

Jennifer Nobles / The Union

A decision on the half-cent sales tax is days away.

On Friday, a Nevada County Superior Court judge heard arguments from both attorney Barry Pruett and County Counsel Kit Elliott about Measure V, the half-cent sales tax measure slated for November’s ballot.

Pruett is representing his wife Audrey, who filed a petition in court seeking a requirement that the proposed half-cent tax be passed by a two-thirds majority. She’s also argued the language on the ballot should be altered.

“We’re going to take up an election issue hotly contested and needs a decision,” Judge Kent Kellegrew said. “Writ matters take on a type of urgency.”

Kellegrew also noted the matter must be solved no later than Tuesday, as ballots are set to print on Wednesday.

“We go to the printers on Wednesday,” Elliott said. “Keep that in mind. It can’t be the case that there is no statute of limitations.”

Much of Friday’s session focused on the timing of the filing of Pruett’s petition and whether actions were taken within a required 10-day period.

Audrey Pruett contested that the Measure V initiative should be considered “special” as opposed to “general” because the ballot question specifies the purposes on which the money would be spent.

A special tax must pass by two-thirds. The Board of Supervisors chose to make Measure V a general tax, meaning it only needs a simple majority to pass.

Audrey 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.

County attorneys pushed back on those arguments in their own court fillings.

“This is nonsense,” county attorneys say of the symbol argument. “The ‘¢’ symbol is universally known and recognized.”

Concerning the argument the tax won’t garner $12 million annually, county attorneys say Audrey Pruett provided no evidence to show that her “simple math” accurately reflects the revenue raised.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at

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