Friday, March 24, 2017

Sanchez wants to see how Solano moves forward on marketing

Sanchez wants to see how Solano moves forward on marketing
By Ryan McCarthy From page A1 | March 24, 2017

FAIRFIELD — Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez, who worried last year that federal funds for Moving Solano Forward might just produce an $800,000 website, says he’s hopeful the effort will assist cities and the region in attracting business.
The project has provided cities in Solano County with good information about potential business locations, Sanchez said, and marketing follow-up will be crucial for whether Moving Solano Forward succeeds.
“It remains to be seen,” Sanchez said Wednesday.
He said the fate should be apparent in six to 18 months.
A $453,460 grant from the federal Office of Economic Adjustment funded 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.
Fairfield City Council members meeting Tuesday indicated they support increasing the municipality’s yearly payment to Moving Solano Forward from $10,000 to $45,000.
Councilwoman Catherine Moy said Wednesday that Sanchez has been skeptical about the marketing program “and I believe rightfully so.”
Moy said she won’t vote for the additional funds for Moving Solano Forward when the council takes up the payment.
“I need to see how the money,” she said, “in a real way is bringing business to Fairfield and not just Solano County.
“I don’t see any cause and effect,” Moy said. “I want to see hard facts.”
Sandy Person, chief executive officer of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, had told the council that more than 4,300 new jobs were added last year in Solano County.
Person said Thursday that economic development involves a lot of moving parts and that the “Solano Means Business” marketing by Moving Solano Forward includes such specifics as sites for businesses to locate.
“It’s not buckshot,” Person said.
“It’s about all of us leveraging our assets together,” she said. “We have to build that regional brand.”
Companies from outside of Northern California think of regions where they may locate, rather than seeing cities or counties, Person said.
While different demographics make up Solano County and each community is unique, she said, success in one city is success for the region.
“What’s good for Vallejo is good for Fairfield,” she said.
Person said Suisun City and Vacaville will be also be asked for contributions to Moving Solano Forward. Funding from cities is based on population.
“Solano Means Business” was introduced March 10 at a meeting of the Solano Economic Development Corporation in Fairfield.
Mario Giuliani, the economic development director for Benicia, said a vehicle is in place to grow the local economy.
“Let’s start our engines,” Giuliani said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or