Ted Owens: Economic Resource Council neglects Truckee, ‘mainly serves western county’
Sun News Service
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The future of Nevada County depends on the success of businesses on both sides of Donner Pass and#8212; but getting them to work together on economic development may not be realistic, officials said Wednesday.
Western Nevada County, with its cities, pockets of high-tech businesses and manufacturing, sustains a very different economy than the county’s eastern panhandle, where the resort and real estate industries dominate the Truckee landscape.
In November, the town began the Truckee Tomorrow project, a $20,000 effort spearheaded by the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce. Officials intend to use it as an economic development tool for Truckee, retaining and attracting area businesses. That is the same function the Nevada County Economic Resource Council fills with $50,000 in county government funding.
But the ERC does not provide those services to eastern Nevada County, said District 5 Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens, who represents Truckee. Eastern county residents subsidize the ERC with tax dollars without getting anything in return, Owens said.
and#8220;I mean no disrespect to the ERC, but maybe it should really be named the WERC because it mainly serves western county,and#8221; Owens said. and#8220;I think (eastern county) warrants having its own economic development agency.and#8221;
Discussion over the ERC’s effectiveness for eastern county residents was sparked Tuesday when Owens voted against funding the agency, a measure that passed the board of supervisors 4-1.
and#8220;The ERC was very welcoming and made an effort to reach out to eastern county,and#8221; said Maia Schneider, a former Truckee mayor who sits on Truckee Tomorrow’s steering committee. and#8220;But the geographic difference between eastern and western county is both physical and emotional.and#8221;
A unified county economic development agency would be ideal, said District 2 Supervisor Ed Scofield, who serves on the ERC’s board. But, it may not be realistic, Scofield added.
and#8220;It is difficult with the summit in between,and#8221; Scofield said.
The Truckee Tomorrow project is off and running, Schneider said.
and#8220;It looks like this effort will be really robust,and#8221; Schneider said. and#8220;We’re outlining our deliverables and look forward to being a working group instead of a talking group.and#8221;
Truckee Tomorrow is interested in recruiting more companies like the Truckee-based firm Clear Capital, which provides loan valuations, that aren’t connected to the service or resort industry.
and#8220;We’re looking for industries that can provide a true, working class,and#8221; Schneider said. and#8220;It’s very important to have people here who sustain the social programs in the community, who attend the fundraising events and coach the Little League teams. Those are the people that really make the community hum.and#8221;
If the group is successful, it could appeal to the county for funding, Owens said.
and#8220;Not certainly any time soon,and#8221; Owens added. and#8220;I think, though, that if a viable entity gels and continues to move forward, I could see that being a possibility in the future: An eastern county-flavored ERC.and#8221;
Future funding for the ERC from the county is tenuous already, Scofield said. The county is not guaranteeing ERC funds beyond this year, and already cut its commitment from $85,000 annually to $50,000 annually. The ERC receives $15,000 from Grass Valley and $3,000 from Nevada City, annually, while Truckee contributes nothing.
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