By Staff, 10/11/17 9:41 AM


PRESCOTT – There wasn’t a lot of business for the Nevada County Quorum Court to deal with in its October meeting Tuesday evening.

The court approved two clean-up ordinances for budgetary reasons and passed a resolution concerning employee insurance. One of the ordinances involved the Victim Witness budget and estimated revenue, with the funds moved from one area to another as required. The other was for a general improvement grant obtained when the county got the offices in the courthouse painted.

The resolution will see those county employees who are Medicare eligible removed from the county’s insurance plan with the county picking up the cost of Medicare and supplements for those employees as long as they remain with the county. However, when these employees will have to pick up the cost of their Medicare and any supplements they may have when they retire or quit working for the county.

According to Julie Oliver, Nevada County Clerk, is recommended by insurance companies and will help reduce the cost of premiums for the rest of county employees, thereby saving the county money.

Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said the change would affect seven or eight employees.

It was pointed out other counties in the state are doing this as well.

Bob Cummings, Willie Wilson and Curtis Lee Johnson were appointed to the budget committee, with the rest of the justices encouraged to attend the budget meetings to see how things are done. The committee will initially meet the first Wednesday in November to begin working on the 2018 budget. Glass said he’d like to have the budget ready for approval by the December meeting, which is scheduled, at this time, for Dec. 12. The meetings will be held at 10 a.m. in the courtroom.

Glass said all county budgets are in good shape except for road and bridge, but this should change once the money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state arrives. He said the state sent a representative to inspect the roads and the case has been closed out on both the state and federal level. He told the court the county should get 87.5 percent of $300,000, or roughly $200,000 as the county’s already received $54,000 for the damage done by storms. All of these funds will go to the road and bridge department.

Susie Key said this department has $91,000 in its budget as of Tuesday because some funds came in.

JP George Smith asked why the tax revenue for March skyrocketed in 2016.

Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said an audit was done by the state and some businesses were found not to have paid the right amount of tax. They were required to catch up on their payments, which increased the budget that one time.

County Agent Darren Neal provided impact reports for the court. He pointed out the Extension Service’s year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, and last year the office had 1,524 educational contacts and 205 farm/yard visits. “This shows what we did over the year,” he said. “We took a livestock team to the 4-H O’rama where they finished fifth in the state.”

He reminded the court Shelbi Booker is the new 4-H/family and consumer science person with the local service. Neal said when he took the job as county agent there were 24 members of 4-H and now 4-H has grown to 60 young people. “We’d like to see more.”

JP Curtis Lee Johnson presented James Roy Cornelius a plaque for his service to the community over the years. Cornelius was a member of the Prescott City Council for 20 years, is a lifelong resident of the county, has been on the board at the Farm Bureau and is one of the last people in the county making a living from row crops.

John Brannon, president of the Bank of Prescott and the Nevada County EDO Board, gave the court an overview of economic development in the county from the time it started in 1957 to the present. He told how it began as the Prescott Industrial Development Council, changed to the Nevada County Industrial Corporation in 1964, was inactive for years, revived as the NC IDO in 1990 and became the P-NCEDO in 1994 when the first professional director was hired.

The goal was to attract business and industry to Prescott and Nevada County, and create jobs, he said. The EDO talked the city and county into investing $25,000 a year each to its budget. He told how the IDO got an option on the land that later became the Industrial Park under the EDO.

Two of the most important grants the EDO obtained, he said, allowed utilities to be extended to the Industrial Park and across I-30 to what was then Rip Griffins, but is now TA. While the Rip Griffin project was known, what wasn’t at the time, was how Love’s was looking for a place to locate and was attracted to Exit 46. These truck stops, Brannon said, generate tax revenue for the city and county.

However, he said, one of the biggest things the EDO was involved with was the Firestone retention projects as Prescott was vying with South Carolina for the factory. He told how local incentives were provided to the company, but added, the deciding factor was likely the workers themselves and the results they showed with the plant being in Prescott.

He talked about the various rural water projects and grants obtained for them, the money former Congressman Mike Ross helped obtain for the Nevada County Library and $300,000 for the Hamilton-Blakely Senior Adult Center. In 23 years, he said, the EDO has obtained more than $15 million in grants for Prescott and Nevada County projects.

Turning to the meat of the talk, he said the city bumped its investment in the EDO from $25,000 to $45,000 and asked the county if it couldn’t add another $5,000 to its investment, making it $30,000 a year. No action was taken.

JP Bob Cummings reminded the court Saturday is the annual Fall Festival and encouraged them to attend.

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