City Debates Allocation of $2.5 Million COVID Relief Funds Amongst Various Contenders


As the city of Susanville deliberates on how to allocate its $2.5 million in COVID relief funds, new contenders have emerged, including the Susanville Symphony, Elks Lodge #1487, and the Local Area Revitalization Co-op (LARP).

At the final community meeting to discuss potential projects for the relief funds, the Susanville Symphony made a strong case for a new home, led by Maestro Ben Wade. Seeking a new home, the Symphony asked for one million of the funds to purchase the Sierra Theatre in uptown.

Elks Lodge #1487 also stepped forward, highlighting the challenges faced by its century-old building in uptown. Larry Rogers, representing the lodge, expressed concerns about the building potentially being boarded up due to financial difficulties, extensive repairs, and rising expenses. The iconic Elks Lodge, perched atop Main Street, has been a symbol of Susanville for decades.

David Teeter, CFO of LARP, presented a proposal for the once-proposed agricultural and compost complex. Teeter explained that the Sierra Mill Property, the initially chosen site, faced opposition from neighbors. However, he proposed utilizing Berry Reservoir as an alternative, emphasizing the potential benefits for the Farmer’s Market and the community.

City Manager Dan Newton outlined the city’s debt obligations and the potential to allocate funds to bolster the Code Enforcement Program. Newton suggested that paying off existing loans could free up $200,000 annually in the general fund, with around $900,000 needed to support the code enforcement program for three years. Newton argued that the program could yield returns through abatement fines and liens against property owners.

After extensive discussions, the council requested the Symphony and Elks Lodge to present detailed plans for review in the next meeting. The final decision on allocating the $2.5 million will be made in a subsequent meeting scheduled for a later date. The council is set to convene again on February 21st for further deliberations.