Nevada County looks to energize economy
The Town of Truckee may be teaming up with Nevada County, Nevada City, and Grass Valley to help the local economy.
Starting with a joint meeting Feb. 8 between the county board of supervisors and the respective town and city councils, the government agencies have kicked off discussions on ways to strengthen and diversify the economy.
“The question is, how do we create economic stability for existing businesses, how do we attract new business, and how do we create jobs local enough for our children to come back and work in Nevada County?” said County Supervisor Ted Owens.
The first meeting focused on western county, discussing an economic report prepared by Seifel Consulting, but Owens, who represents the eastern county, and Truckee’s town council aim to change that.
“It covered the western county more than the east, which was not a good start,” said Truckee Mayor Barbara Green. “But for all of us sharing what we’ve learned and what we need to learn can only be good.”
Looking specifically at Truckee, Green said the town has to bring in new forms of business.
“We have to expand beyond tourism. We have to find light industry ” and I emphasis light ” and encourage the people who move up here to work out of their homes,” Green said.
Owens also said light manufacturing and tech-industry could diversify Truckee’s economy, and pointed to the Pioneer Commerce Center and Clear Capital as good examples.
Clear Capital, a locally owned and run company that performs loan valuation, moved entirely to Truckee in 2002, said Kevin Marshall, chief information officer for the company.
“We found a pool of nice, educated, talented people who wanted to live up here, but usually had to move after a few years to get a real job,” Marshall said.
Employing 150 people, Marshall said Clear Capital uniquely fits Truckee.
Business space, electronic infrastructure, and the town’s affordable housing efforts so far have helped make Clear Capital possible, Marshall said.
Owens said diversification could help reduce the ups and downs of the market.
“Construction and tourism are extremely important to the eastern county, but they can be fickle and shouldn’t be the only arrows in our quiver,” Owens said. “Diversification smoothes out the highs and lows.”
Government’s role should be limited in the local economy, however, Owens said.
“It’s the government’s job to participate and get out of the way,” Owens said. “That may include fee waivers or other forms of incentives to bring new business.”
Green said this may also mean increasing infrastructure and affordable housing to both accommodate new business and employees.