Local officials meet to discuss economy | SierraSun.com

Local officials meet to discuss economy

Soumitro Sen
Sun news service

With housing prices down, the local construction industry slumping and population growth a tad higher than flat, county leaders meet today and Saturday to discuss how to bolstered the economy and draw higher-paying jobs to the area.

Elected officials and administrators from Nevada County, Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee open their meeting at 1 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley.

Local entrepreneurs ” including leaders of Grass Valley Group spin-offs and the developer of the new Nevada City Tech Center – will make presentations today on why businesses invest in Nevada County.

Gil Mathew, president and CEO of the county Economic Resource Council, will talk about the “hurdles and opportunities in the economic development in the county” in a separate presentation.

The Nevada County Chamber of Commerce and local business organizations will offer their input at the meeting on Saturday.

Area officials convened in February, for the first time, to discuss the local economy after a report commissioned by Nevada County showed leaders should shift their attention – and $300,000 in funds – to attracting new businesses and depend less on real estate and tourism, which fluctuate with the economy.

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The Seifel report, released in November 2007, created a firestorm of protest among those saying tourism should remain an important element.

“We want to look at diversity in our economy,” said Ted Owens, chairman of the county board of supervisors. “A more diverse (local) economy will be more resistant to the highs and lows of the (general) economy.”

Local policy makers are learning about the economic need of the area through these meetings, said Rick Haffey, county executive officer.

“At this week’s meetings, they’ll be looking at the next steps for action,” Haffey said.