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Report on impact of Nevada City businesses probed

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce on Thursday got closer to finding the true economic impacts its members and other businesses have on the town.

Businesses in town are responsible for about 77 percent of Nevada City’s general fund revenue, which translated to about $2 million in 2001, according to the Center for Economic Development. The center is a nonprofit organization associated with California State University at Chico and was contracted to do the report by the Chamber.

Of that $2 million in the city’s general fund, tourism was responsible for $460,000.



Direct tourism sales accounted for about $12.8 million in 2002. According to the report, auto supplies and service stations collected the most tourism revenue, nearly $5.5 million, while lodging places and restaurants each collected more than $2 million in tourism sales.

“The revised report was good,” said Greg Cook, a Chamber member who spurred the effort. “The surprise to me was that almost 80 percent of the revenue coming into the city comes from the business community.”




The root reasons for launching the study stem from long-standing perceptions among some Chamber members that the city isn’t recognizing the economic contributions of the business community. Chamber President Duane Strawser said the report is not intended to “jab” the city, but to move the relationship forward.

“It’s to see where we really are, to see who generates the money that keeps this town healthy and how to improve that,” he said.

After the first draft of the report came out in December, there were questions about its accuracy, particularly since it didn’t take into account the transient occupancy tax – 10 percent of room fees charged at lodging places – otherwise known as the bed tax.

At a Thursday morning meeting to discuss the report, Nevada City government officials also questioned the data because the city wasn’t approached by the report’s author for information. There were also questions about the number of tourism jobs, listed at 21, held by Nevada City residents. Many in attendance said they felt that number was low.

At this point, Strawser said, the report is still a “work in progress.”

“The next step is to actually get the city involved,” he said. “To get more numbers and be more accurate.”

Nevada City City Manager Mark Miller concurred. He said community and city leaders need to get together and discuss the topic on a qualitative basis.

“The fact that we had this meeting was good,” Miller said. “We don’t have the option of not working together.”

Meanwhile, Cook, owner of Friar Tuck’s Restaurant and Bar, said the city and Chamber over the years have had disagreements over money. An economic study like the one now underway should have been done 15 years ago, he said.


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