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NEVADA COUNTY, March 9, 2021 – By a 3-2 vote the Nevada County Board of Supervisors voted to table [take no action on] a resolution “Supporting Reopening Nevada County Safely In Response To The Covid-19 Pandemic In Coordination With Nevada County Public Health Authorities.”
The resolution was brought as an individual board member item by Chair Dan Miller and District 4 Supervisor Sue Hoek for consideration by the full Board.
The resolution was modelled on a template proposed by Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) at a gathering of Republican legislators in Red Bluff on Oct. 29, 2020. The ‘Healthy Communities Resolution’ was drafted by Assemblymembers James Gallagher, Kevin Kiley and Megan Dahle, and Senators Brian Dahle and Jim Nielsen. Variants of the template have been adopted by eleven counties, according to the item’s supporting staff report.
All supervisors agreed the resolution would not open businesses immediately or disregard Public Health officials’ recommendations. The background information, provided by Miller and Hoek clearly stated: “We wholly recognize the critical function and responsibility that Public Health Authorities hold in responding to the pandemic that ensure the safety of our community – and support their efforts.”
Numerous public comments were heard in person, via phone or email. In the end, Supervisors Hall, Hardy and Scofield voted to table the motion – essentially a ‘no action’ vote. Supervisors Miller and Hoek voted No on the motion.
Full text of the tabled resolution:
WHEREAS, the paramount concern of policymakers at all levels is the health and wellbeing of our constituents, never more so than during what has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic; and
WHEREAS, decisions affecting the health and well-being of our constituents must be based on empirical evidence without regard to politics or the influence of special interest groups; and
WHEREAS, California has struggled as much as any state during the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment estimated at 9% by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of January 2021 making California the third highest in unemployment in the nation with Nevada County unemployment at approximately 6.8% as of December 2020; and
WHEREAS, California is a large and diverse state within which the demographics and density of population, medical and hospital resources, mix of commercial, retail, agricultural, and residential land uses, and the economic drivers among California’s 58 counties vary greatly; and
WHEREAS, Nevada County is a mid-sized rural County with distinctly unique communities located across wide geographical dispersed areas; and
WHEREAS, California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy provides a statewide approach to reopening communities through uniform metrics across all 58 counties, with the intent to allow different levels of openness in each county according to conditions on the ground, it does not account for all factors of differences across counties, especially among and within rural communities; and
WHEREAS, to keep our community healthy and vibrant in the face of the pandemic, it is imperative that the state’s framework includes increased flexibility to allow local elected and public health officials to tailor our response to the unique needs of our community; and
WHEREAS, Nevada County is extremely concerned about the impacts to our children of any further delays to in-person education while recognizing that the return to full time in-person education must be done safely in a thoughtful and prudent fashion in coordination with public health officials; and
WHEREAS, youth between the ages of thirteen to eighteen are at risk to doing harm to themselves, experience depression, or suffer from mental health problems due to anxiety from isolation; and
WHEREAS, Nevada County is also extremely concerned about the impacts to our local businesses and economy of continued delay to businesses reopening while recognizing the importance of working in close coordination with local public health authorities through datadriven empirical evidence based decisions; and
WHEREAS, Nevada County is well positioned through the leadership of our Public Health Department to vaccinate our population in an efficient and expedient manner; and
WHEREAS, any changes to the State’s vaccination plan, coupled with the lack of consistency, transparency, and predictability of vaccine supplies will impede this important effort locally; and
WHEREAS, the County of Nevada needs a stable vaccination eligibility framework, with clear messaging and expectations to the public in order to assist county public health authorities in efficient rollout of vaccinations locally.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Board of Supervisors of the County of Nevada that these facts demonstrate a need for collective and unified action from our County and surrounding communities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the County of Nevada approves this Resolution with a commitment to the following principles:
1. That our County is best served by an ability to respond locally to the COVID19 virus in accordance with our local data and circumstances, as specified, for instance, in the attestation filed with the California Department of Public Health.
2. That our County requests clear guidance and sufficient resources from the State to safely open schools to provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.
3. That our County requests a predictable and transparent vaccination allocation from the State, along with stable vaccine eligibility rules and clear and accurate public messaging on vaccine availability to assist with an orderly and efficient local vaccination process.
4. That our County supports, promotes and requests that any further federal relief funds be distributed directly to the County of Nevada.