Council: Economic Development Advisory Committee wants formal authority

March 30, 2011
Santa Paula City Council

The chairman of the appointed Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) told the City Council the group would like expanded authority in attracting and retaining business.

Duane Ashby also presented a list of potential revenue enhancers to the council at the March 7 meeting. Ashby’s EDAC report noted the committee has items under study as “avenues for bringing additional revenue to the city and increase commerce.”

Among the ideas is developing an “anchor attraction” with a venue such as a stadium, bowl, conference center/meeting area, offices, fairgrounds, arena, racetrack or county club. Other anchor attractions could be a permanent farmers market, high profile business, entertainment/recreational entity, botanical gardens, and wedding and reception facilities.

The city should also develop a promotional/tourism plan and continue to develop and promote “additional high profile, high interest, “signature” annual events such as a Santa Paula golf classic, music festival, playwright festival, band/choral contests, 5/10K race, marathon, bicycle race, and rodeo, dressage, hunter-jumper competitions.

EDAC’s report also addressed installing solar electrical power generation on city owned buildings, using city owned vacant property for solar power construction, and examining the creation of power generating plants. Vacant/unoccupied city property should be leased out, and city owned facilities that could be leased by or provide compensated service to other public entities - such as a gun range, police training facility, fire training facility or animal shelter - should be created.

Ashby noted that EDAC, whose members are appointed by the council, “currently operates in an advisory capacity only and has no authority to act on its own in any capacity. EDAC believes that as a body, it should perform certain activities that will benefit the city’s economic health, but lacks the authority to engage in such activities.”

Examples of activities Ashby said EDAC would require a “wider scope of authority” to address could include assisting local businesses in promotions in concert with the Downtown Merchants Association and Chamber of Commerce, acting as a liaison between business owners and the city, working to attract new businesses and investors to the city, conducting activities to promote tourism and business activity, and obtaining and administrating funds independent of the city’s budget for use to conduct such activities.

EDAC, said Ashby, “proposes to the council that it consider, discuss and vote on expanding the authority of EDAC as outlined.”

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