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Littering law passed by NCQC

By Staff, 04/14/21 10:48 AM

PRESCOTT – Nevada County has a new littering ordinance on the books.

The Nevada County Quorum Court, in its April meeting Tuesday evening, voted to approve a new littering ordinance which includes a fine from $100 to $1,000 for those convicted of littering. Ben Hale, county attorney and deputy district attorney with the Eighth Judicial District North, said it’s the same ordinance Hempstead County has, but with a few changes, including the fine amount.

The new law is limited an only covers public highways and right-of-ways, but not private property. Hale pointed out evidence will still be needed in order to convict someone of littering. Law enforcement will write the ticket, both the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and Prescott Police Department as this is a county-wide ordinance, but he pointed out, enforcement will be a matter of resources. He said it would be nice to have cameras, but this would be expensive.

Hale told the court the reality of the situation is this will be hard to enforce because it’s difficult to catch someone in the act. He added the prosecuting attorney’s office will prosecute if it has eyewitness testimony. “We have a lot of problems other than littering,” he said.

Some justices of the peace wanted the ordinance to include jail time, but it only has a fine. Hale said it was unlikely a judge would sentence someone to jail for littering, but they could be given a suspended sentence, which could be revoked if they got in trouble again.

Hale also updated the court on the Nubbin Hill project, saying he’s been in discussion with everyone involved and is waiting to hear from Entergy and one landowner, who has yet to sign off. The county has acquired the right-of-way, which needs to be signed by the county judge and filed, and the highway department is also ready to begin. The City of Prescott can move the water line in the area at any time. “Hopefully,” he said, “we’ll have everything we need by the next quorum court meeting.

Keeping center stage, Hale also told the court about the contract between the county and the ambulance service. He said the current contract is an extension of the old one with the Nevada County Ambulance Service, which was sold to Pafford Medical Services recently. The court approved a new five-year contract with Pafford, which is basically the same as the one it had with the NCAS. Hale said it’s advantageous to the city and county if there are fiscal problems and either party can get out of the contract with 30-days notice. Both the city and county pay $20,000 annually to the service in 12 monthly installments.

In other business, Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said the lease agreement with John Deere is expiring for graders the county leases, and John Deere is now asking for $3,500 or $3,600 a month per grader for a new lease. Glass told the court he’s been in touch with Caterpillar and can get two graders for $3,500 a month combined. Caterpillar asked this be brought before the court and approved. The court agreed. Paying for the lease will come out of the road and bridge department. Glass said this was included in the budget.

The court also approved an ordinance to appropriate $9,500 to the coroner’s department. Nevada County Clerk Julie Oliver, said the court approved this last year for the COVID crisis and to provide a place to hold bodies in quarantine, but the money was never spent. The funds had to be appropriated again so Coroner David Gummeson could purchase a cooler and equipment for his truck.

The court also agreed to transfer $60,034.51 from the CARES Act funds to county general as there isn’t enough money in county general to meet this month’s payrolls. This will leave $400,000 in the CARES account.

A grant for $2,550 was also approved for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office to purchase bullet-proof vests for all deputies.