Wednesday, March 22, 2017

$45,000 annual payment for Moving Solano Forward wins Fairfield council support

$45,000 annual payment for Moving Solano Forward wins Fairfield council support

By Ryan McCarthy From page A8 | March 22, 2017

FAIRFIELD — Increasing the city’s yearly $10,000 payment to $45,000 for the Moving Solano Forward campaign to boost economic development won Fairfield City Council support Tuesday.

“We want to move forward,” Mayor Harry Price said.

The direction to staff followed a report from Robert Burris, economic development and workforce housing division manager for the city, about Moving Solano Forward.

“Think of economic development as a team sport,” Burris said.

Cities and Solano County can’t do it all on their own, he said, noting work by the Solano Economic Development Corporation. He cited plans by Blue Apron, a company that sends customers foods to prepare at home, to open a fulfillment center on Cordelia Road and bring what the city staff said will involve about 1,000 jobs in Fairfield.

“We all group together to make things happen,” Burris said.

Sandy Person, chief executive officer of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, told the City Council about the “Solano Means Business” strategy introduced at the March 10 meeting of the organization at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield.

“It’s bringing our ‘A game’ to a world platform,” Person said.

More than 4,300 new jobs came to Solano County last year, she said.

Person said that, “economic development is exceptionally complicated” and that the Solano EDC works with what she called “Fairfield’s premier staff.”

“We all have a hand in that,” she said of new jobs in the region.

A Fairfield city staff report said money is not in the budget for the increased city payment but the extra $35,000 could be added to the upcoming budget.

“For this strategy to be successful, new investment is required,” the report said.

“It is expected that the future new investment and job creation resulting from greater economic development and marketing activities will create an economic impact ‘ripple effect’ of returns to the city that will by far exceed this level of investment,” the report said.

Funding from cities is based on population.

A $453,460 grant from the federal Office of Economic Adjustment paid for a second phase of the Solano project and follows the first part that received $370,000 in federal money and paid consultant Economic Planning Systems Inc. for an economic diversity report.

Person said the effort began about five years ago and involves the region relying less economically on Travis Air Force Base.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or