Prescott City Council approves police raises, hears from citizens, touts Juneteenth celebration at courthouse
In its regular June meeting Monday night, the Prescott City Council approved a raise for the Prescott City Police which would go into effect for the next budget year.  The video of the meeting, taken by City Business Manager Bruce Bean, can be seen below this story.

Mayor Terry Oliver began the discussion by stating that the 2024 payroll budget for Prescott PD was $365,000. The budget proposal for 2025 would be $345,541,000, which would allow $19,459 in overtime pay. He said the 2025 proposal would include pay for the three ranking officers, a sergeant, two full-time certified officers, three part-time certified officers and an administrator. Two full-time certified officer positions are open. 

City councilman Ivory Curry made the motion to approve the raise and all the councilpersons present voted in favor. After the approval, Councilman Howard Austin commented, “I want to emphasize that we need to keep in mind that our police department, fire department, electrical department, are very important for the city, very, very important. So this proposal here is really, to me, it’s kind of low, but I know we don't have money, but we should look at trying to raise their salary even more, because of what they do.” 

Mayor Oliver said work had been going on for a year and a half for the raise. called for attendees to stand and give a round of applause for the officers present and said that with Prescott Police Chief Ann Jordan in cancer treatment, the officers’ contributions were even more important. Mayor Oliver said he believed the raise would help with morale. 

Earlier in the meeting Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamie Hillery reported that two ribbon-cuttings had recently taken place, one for Southern Pines Health and Rehab Physical Therapy Department, the other for Gigi’s Bridal and Formal. She also said the budget had been approved for Prescott’s Fourth of July Event and planning is underway. “I think we have a wonderful show set up. We’re going to do it at [Cummins] Stadium like we have in the past,” Hillery said. Food trucks will be present. 

The remainder of the meeting was taken up with Citizens’ Comments. First, was Brad Glass, Pastor of Park Baptist Church.  Mayor Oliver read minutes from a 2020 city council meeting in which it appeared to be agreed that the church would purchase some land adjoining the church from the city for either $20,900 with the city removing 15 trees on the property or $13,190 with the church paying an estimated $7,500 for tree removal. But the deal never took place. 

Glass said he was authorized now to offer $10,000. He said four trees on the property are now dead and the church would pay for their disposal. 

City Water and Sewer Superintendent Perry Nelson pointed out that because a sewer line went through the land an easement would need to be provided to the city.  Eric Hughes, newly hired city attorney, raised the concern that the sale would be for less than the appraised value established in 2020 and a new appraisal would be needed. 

“I think we also should consider the fact that there is a sewer line,” Hughes said. “I don't know if the sewer line is on the edge of the property, through the middle of property. That could be a factor and a reason you wouldn't want to dispose of it.” 

Mayor Oliver said, “We’ll get it appraised and then see what’s up with it.” Glass then thanked the council. 

Next to speak was Debbie Crowder, a Rotary Club member and PSE Pest Control Services employee. She asked how the Rotary Club could help reduce overgrown vegetation in places in the city, which she said would attract rodents.  “If God doesn't give us any more winters,” she said. “This problem will get worse. It's not going to get any better, not roaches, not chiggers, not those little guys that nobody wants to mention.” 

City Attorney Hughes said he check city ordinances about the issue. Chamber Director Hillery said her office has a list of businesses that offer mowing. 

Next, Rowe Staton offered the services of the Rotary Club in assisting the elderly with yard care.  He pointed out there are many sources of food, but information need to be provided to the public on how these can be accessed. “We are going to put together a food information package,” he said. “Where people can learn where to go to get food, and the Rotary Club is going to the businesses. Businesses are going to start putting blessing boxes out where we can control them.” 

Jessica Box announced that a Juneteenth observation will occur Wednesday, June 19th at 11:00 a.m. in front of the courthouse with Nevada County Justice of the Peace Willie Wilson as speaker.  Councilman Austin explained that Juneteenth commemorated the day former slaves in Galveston found out they were free in 1865. 

Councilman Ivory Curry announced a Summer Fun Day at Curry’s Community Outreach Ministry. on Wednesday, June 26th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and a community feed there on June 29th. 

Councilman Austin spoke to his continued concern with drainage issues, recommending the use of concrete ditches. “If you don’t address it now, what’s going to happen later?” Austin asked, referring to potential erosion. 

Mayor Oliver said, “They [the contractors]’re not going to get their last check until we’re satisfied.” 

Curry mentioned that residents on Wildcat Road are still seeing sewage backups into their homes after heavy rains, requesting that money be requested from the state.