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Budget committee approves raises

By Staff, 11/28/17 10:23 AM

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PRESCOTT – A preliminary budget has been developed to be presented to the Nevada County Quorum Court at its December meeting.

The court’s budget committee met after a special session wherein the court approved the county’s joining the statewide Geological Information System. The court will meet in regular session at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 to decide whether or not to approve the budget as presented.

The budget meeting began with Nevada County Circuit Clerk Rita Reyenga asking for a second full-time deputy. She told the panel she hasn’t had one for three years and has managed to “get by” but not without problems. At times, she said, the office has been locked when she has had to be in court and her deputy was out, either for illness or vacation. A project begun three years ago where the former second clerk was going through tickets to see who had and hadn’t paid and suspending the license of those who hadn’t paid, has been put on hold due to the lack of time.

Reyenga said she’s still waiting on the new computers she ordered, though she has the new software to be installed on them. Once the computers are in and the software installed, she told the court her staff would need to be trained on them as the new software is complicated.

Currently, Reyenga is using her daughter-in-law part time as needed to help keep the office open.

JP Bob Cummings asked if the maintenance costs will go down once the new system is in place, saying he can’t get Prentiss to give him this information.

Reyenga couldn’t answer the question either. She said she’s already paid for three computers, three scanners and an encoder, but as her office is using the old system, the new software hasn’t been installed. She said there are two programs, one for deeds and mortgages and another for court information. Everything will need to be typed in, which takes time, she added.

“Technology hurts. A extra person would help get fines collected.” She told the court fines is something her office needs to stay on. She told the court she wouldn’t need a part-time person if she could get a full-time employee.

JP George Smith asked if there was a category in the budget for contributions. He was told the county can’t legally make contributions, but can assist agencies financially with its grants in aid and the other county expenses areas of the budget. This is how funds are provided to the Nevada County Ambulance Service, the Nevada County Library, the Nevada County Extension Office and others.

Smith asked where the money for the purchase of the Prairie D’Ane Battlefield came from. Nevada County Clerk Julie Oliver said this came from the County General Other portion of the County Expenses budget.

He said it’s confusing, especially for new members of the court, to have money taken from so many different areas of the budget. Oliver said the state sets the codes and the rules as to how the money can be used.

Nevada County Judge returned to Reyenga’s request, recommending she be allowed to hire a full-time second deputy, while cutting the part-time position. Smith asked for a monthly accounting of fines for the court.

Oliver said this will add to the Circuit Clerk’s budget total.

Talk about funding the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office came about again, with the question raised why it’s funded from Solid Waste. It was pointed out the Solid Waste funds can be used for literally anything for the county. It was suggested since the county general fund is in better shape than it’s been in for years, the EDO budget now be paid from the county general fund instead of Solid Waste.

County employees will be glad to hear the new budget includes a 50-cent an hour across-the-board raise for them. There was talk about making it a dollar an hour, but Glass suggested going with 50 cents and looking at where the budget is in three to six months to see if the county has the money for it.

The raise doesn’t include deputies for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Danny Martin said he’s plugged in around $1 an hour raise for them, with the funds to come from the Sheriff’s Budget. Raises for jailers and NCSO secretaries were also approved by the committee to be presented to the court.

Martin said he’d like to have a deputy working full-time at the Nevada County Courthouse to provide security. This deputy would be at the front door and check everyone entering with a metal detector to make sure no weapons were being brought into the courthouse. It was suggested all other doors be kept locked and the back door be rekeyed for transporting inmates to and from the courthouse and jail. Martin told the panel this deputy would need to be paid around $25,000 a year and when he/she wasn’t available, specialized deputies trained in courthouse security could be used to take over.

The committee agreed to look into this and address it at the December meeting. It also approved the other budgets as presented.

The question was raised as to whether county employees would be getting bonuses this year. The answer was, yes. Full time employees will be receiving prorated bonuses of $600, while part timers will get prorated bonuses of $300. This will be based on $50 per month and include the length of their employment.

As the meeting ended, Glass said the county is in better financial shape than it’s been in for years and if the money is there, he’d like to give employees raises.

JP Ryan Harvey said the county also has certificates of deposit it needs to put back in the bank and make sure it has a “rainy day” fund for equipment repair and replacement.

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