City council will again delay establishing a co-funded position for economic development.
The City has been in discussions with the Susanville Indian Rancheria to create this position that can collaborate between the rancheria and the city to bring the promise of economic prosperity. Yet many remain on the fence. Councilmembers were split on establishing the position as some felt time was of the essence to move forward with the job as the town suffers from the loss of a major employer with the closure of CCC, while others believed more time was needed for the community and staff to review the details of the job.
For over an hour, the council, tribal administrator, and the community discussed concerns and benefits, along with the finer details of the position, including salary and benefits. City Administrator Newton shared staff has come back with two additional positions that would accompany the position for economic development, as they found the help would be necessary.
Proposed was a 209,000 salary for the economic developer, 35,000 dollars for an administrative assistant, and another 50,000 for a non-permanent consultant. Each position would be funded through the general fund that has been bolstered by the new revenue coming from the 1% sales tax increase voted in and taking effect in October of last year. Some in the community questioned what kind of return the community would see with the addition of this position and questioned the creation of the new position altogether. City Administrator Dan Newton responded that this is an area the city has been struggling with for years.
Councilmembers Brown and Schuster both opposed the position salary being so excessive, with Schuster also noting the council had previously discussed one position at a lower salary around the 130,000 dollar mark, and staff has now come back with three at what will cost just shy of 300,000. Mayor McCourt wished to proceed with a final determination of the position but it was agreed that the council would give the community another 30 days to review the proposal staff has put together, and the topic will be brought back to the council’s April Meeting.