Grass Valley funds 3 economic development, promotion agencies |

Grass Valley funds 3 economic development, promotion agencies

At its Tuesday night meeting, the Grass Valley City Council allocated more than $30,000 to three different organizations tasked with promoting the town and its surrounding areas and fostering economic development.

“This year, we are recommending that the same allocation that we have allocated to the various agencies remain the same,” said City Manager Dan Holler.

The council awarded $10,000 each to the Grass Valley Downtown Association, the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, a public agency created by the county’s government.

First addressed was the Chamber of Commerce, whose co-leaders, Keith Davies and Robin Galvan-Davies, summarized their efforts since taking the helm in January. Among their highlights were a 14 percent increase in membership and opening its new office and visitor’s center across from city hall in June, Davies said.

“We are sound. Every month we are better off than we were the month before,” Davies said. “Going forward, the picture is going to get better.”

For a number of years, the council has authorized annual funding to support the chamber’s activities to promote business, tourism and economic development, said Holler in his report to the council.

“The most important thing I see is the amount of energy and regeneration of the chamber,” said Councilman Jason Fouyer.

Next on the council’s agenda was its agreement with the ERC, where its own new leader, Robert Trent who joined five months ago, addressed the council.

Trent noted that in the last year, the ERC has also taken on a greater role in the promotion of tourism.

Council’s vote to continue support of the county agency called for an $11,000 allocation with the extra $1,000 to fund local programs hosted by that agency such as its economic forecast, Holler noted in his written report to the council.

“There have been some ups and downs in the ERC over the years,” said Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout, also an ERC board member.

“I have sat on the board now for two and a half years, and I really feel like we’re on the right track. We’re moving forward.”

Council’s funding of the ERC, on the same day the Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved its own two-year renewed agreement with the agency, reflects the city’s ongoing support for and cooperative relationship with the ERC and the work done to enhance the community’s business climate and economic welfare of the city and region, Holler wrote in his report.

Swarthout, who disclosed that she is also an invested partner with the ERC, was advised by Grass Valley City Attorney Michael Colantuono that she did not need to recuse herself from voting on the ERC funding, she said.

Swarthout was, however, one of the three council members with conflicts of interest who had to essentially draw straws to see who would remain to retain quorum on the vote to continue funding of the GVDA.

Though even in that, she was randomly selected to stay while Mayor Dan Miller and Councilman Howard Levine vacated the council chambers during the vote.

In voting to continue funding the GVDA, Holler noted that the agency is the most linked to the city among the other two funded Tuesday because it oversees its Downtown Parking and Business Improvement District.

“I have enjoyed collaborating with economic development agencies this year,” said GVDA Executive Director Julia Jordan. “We’ve had a lot of successes.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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