A resolution to suspend future Williamson Act contracts failed to gain approval before a split Nevada County Board of Supervisors yesterday. The Williamson Act gives agricultural land owners a break on their taxes in exchange for conservation easements being placed on their land. Currently, Nevada County has 27 Williamson Act contracts in place involving 7,500 acres of land. The order to suspend future contracts came up when the State of California, in it’s budget cutbacks decided not to reimburse counties for the taxes they loose through the Williamson Act. Some contracts are very small but ,the last Williamson Act contract the county approved covers 800 acres resulting in a loss of $10,000 in county property tax revenue, and a cut of $1,500 to $2,000 to the County General Fund. Supervisor Nate Beason argued the state is chipping away at the health of the General Fund and the county needs to draw the line.
click to hear Supervisor Beason
Supervisor Ed Scofield says he attended a recent Resource Conservation District event where he talked with a potential farmer.
click to hear Supervisor Scofield
Scofield says it’s questionable if the Williamson Act would help this farmer, but the property in question may now end up being developed , further reducing open space in the County.
The board voted 3-2 not to suspend future Williamson Act contracts, with Supervisors Nate Beason and Hank Weston in the minority.
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