Dave Brooksher

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April 11, 2014
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Business owners weigh in on Grass Valley's annexation

Despite initial concerns that annexation might adversely impact operations for industrial companies just south of Grass Valley’s city limits, owners at Kilroy’s Auto Dismantling and Rare Earth Landscape Materials have offered high praise for city staffers overseeing the process.

“I feel like the city’s trying to do the right thing for everybody in this area,” said Jaime Hopper, owner of Rare Earth.

Rare Earth is one of four industrial businesses being brought into the city. These businesses are currently on county land, which means they enjoy lower sales tax rates and less restrictive regulations than would typically be allowed in town.

Loud noise and truck traffic are issues. Burning may also take place on an occasional basis. Sometimes work takes place at night. That can lead to light pollution and complaints from residential neighbors. It appears, however, that all the stakeholders currently involved are supportive of allowing affected businesses to continue operating as they currently do. To that end, the city is drafting pre-annexation agreements with each business to ensure that their specific needs are met before moving forward with the annexation. Those agreements are available on the city’s website.

Tom Last, Grass Valley’s community development director, says an accord has been reached with Kilroy’s and Rare Earth — and owners of both businesses have told The Union that they’re happy with the provisions of the agreement.

“As I understand it, there’d be no change in my business whatsoever,” said Kent Kilroy.

The city is still working with Hansen Brothers Enterprises and Vulcan Materials to assuage their concerns.

If annexed, all four businesses will also become contributors to Grass Valley’s Measure N sales tax, which funds road maintenance and first responders. On county land, the sales tax rate is currently 7.625 percent — but after getting annexed, their customers will be paying 8.125 cents on the dollar.

Hansen Brothers Enterprises, which delivers most of its sales to off-site locations, will be largely unaffected by the increased tax rate. Jaime Hopper, of Rare Earth, does not believe the added sales tax will have an adverse affect on sales.

Municipal water and sewer service could also be extended into the annexed area at some point in the future, which would benefit nearby businesses.

Before finalizing the annexation, city officials want to ensure the move will be “revenue neutral,” meaning that it either breaks even or generates revenue. If the properties are found to cost the city more than they contribute, officials might decline to move forward.

As of Thursday afternoon, community development director Tom Last said it was not yet clear if or when the annexation will be finalized.

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, email dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

“I feel like the city’s trying to do the right thing for everybody in this area.”
Jaime Hopper
owner of Rare Earth

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The Union Updated Apr 11, 2014 11:26AM Published Apr 11, 2014 11:06AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.