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Roseville takes ‘aggressive’ approach to tackling economic woes

City council votes 3-1 to fund Economic Development Strategy
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville is taking what city officials call an aggressive approach to improving the local economy with the adoption of the citywide Economic Development Strategy.

Roseville City Council voted 3-1 in approving funding for the strategy during Wednesday's meeting. Councilwoman Carol Garcia was absent and Mayor Pauline Roccucci cast the dissenting vote.

The total first-year investment associated with the strategy is nearly $1.2 million. Private investment will cover $350,000 with the city paying $827,000 for a 30/70 split. This amount includes staffing - the city plans to add an economic development manager and half-time administrative assistant as contract positions.

The multi-year strategy aims to stimulate the current economy and position Roseville for long-term success in the future, according to city officials. One of the key items is the city's participation in Advantage Roseville, a private-public partnership with a goal to attract and retain businesses, create jobs and market the city.

The group will include at least 20 businesses, with each contributing $5,000 annually over the next three years for $100,000 total each year. The city will match this $100,000 amount each year. Roseville plans to pay out of its Strategic Improvement Funds, which currently holds about $12 million, according to Assistant City Manager John Sprague.

Other businesses signed on as founding members in Advantage Roseville include Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, JMC Homes, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Roseville Chamber of Commerce and Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The city will also be looking at offering new incentives such as tenant improvement assistance and financing assistance.

Roccucci told the Press Tribune she voted against the item because she doesn't want to use public money for new incentives.

"I don't want to do giveaways," she said.

Roccucci said Roseville already has strong reasons for starting a business here, including an expedited permitting process and low electric rates.

"We already have good incentives and I want to keep and use the ones we have," she said.

The council approved the Economic Development Strategy and its first-year work program during the June 20 meeting with a 4-1 vote. Roccucci voted against the item.

During that meeting, Karen Garner, an administrative analyst with the city's Office of Economic Development, said the Roseville Community Development Corporation will play a large role in carrying out many of the tasks in the strategy.

"With the dissolution of redevelopment, there is an opportunity for the (corporation) and economic development efforts to be combined to further the goals for downtown Roseville and the entire community," Garner said.

The strategy also aims to focus on filling existing, vacant office space in the city. Developing higher education opportunities and downtown revitalization remain top economic priorities for the city.

"This is a very exciting time for economic development in Roseville ... our retail sales are going in a positive direction, our unemployment has also slowly been declining, but we know we can do more," Garner said during the June 20 meeting.

Here's a look at some other items approved during the Aug. 15 council meeting:

Byrne Memorial Federal Justice Assistance grant: The city will use $25,108 grant to pay a portion of the salary and benefits of the police department's Public Safety Community Relations Coordinator, who oversees Neighborhood Watch groups, Citizen's Police Academy, crime prevention newsletters and blogs, and other community and education outreach efforts.

Downtown public improvements phase 1 approval of plans: The city selected Carter-Kelly to provide services for an estimated $8.95 million. Project consists of upgrading undersized water, sewer, storm drain and electrical facilities, and roadway and streetscape improvements between 100 and 400 blocks of Vernon Street.

Downtown Specific Plan phase 1 improvements: The city will conduct water and wastewater infrastructure improvements identified for the Downtown Specific Plan, including construction of new and upgraded water lines and sewer lines. Water improvements are estimated to cost $2.4 million, covered through Water Rehabilitation Funds and Water Construction Funds. Wastewater improvements are estimated to cost $200,000 from Wastewater Rehabilitation Funds.

Asphalt products purchase order: The city awarded a purchase order to Vulcan Materials for recurring requirements for asphalt products for street patching on an as-needed basis. Total estimated annual cost is $350,000.

Fiddyment Road project joint-use agreement: Fiddyment Road will be widened to six lanes wide from Pleasant Grove Boulevard to Baseline Road, which requires relocation of existing PG&E overhead power lines. PG&E requested an agreement that preserves its existing easement rights and requires the city to pay for any rearrangement, relocation, reconstruction or removal of any lines if required by project. Project is funded with $1 million in Proposition 1B State-Local Partnership Program funds and $2.5 in Traffic Mitigation Funds.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT