for Mayor of Benicia
Issues - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2/5/20)
One of the challenges facing Benicia is that we are a “full service” City. No other Bay Area city of our size has chosen to provide every conceivable City service (Police, Fire, Water and Wastewater, Library, Public Works, Community Development, Parks). Most cities of our size will typically contract with larger agencies for such things as utilities, the library, and public safety. Benicians approve of the fact we are a full service city, and are loath to change things.
In order to continue to pay for these services in an inflationary time, we must grow our revenue. It is simply not feasible to cut our way to a balanced budget without reducing services. Many of our costs are fixed and others (like pensions) will grow substantially in the years ahead.
We are making progress in economic development. Sales tax is up citywide, new businesses are moving into the Industrial Park (which generates nearly half of our tax revenue), and First Street continues to see new investment and increased activity. Our restaurant, art and music scene is attractive to both tourists and locals. We need to build on that momentum.
One thing we must do is make it easier for companies and residents to do business with the City. Our permitting process can be slow. We must make the process easier, cheaper and more transparent for our customers.
Besides traditional economic development activity like attracting new companies to relocate to Benicia, or keeping our existing businesses from being recruited elsewhere, I have been among the leaders on the City Council to look for new, non-traditional sources of revenue, like the burgeoning cannabis industry discussed elsewhere.
Nikki Basch Davis
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Steve Young for Mayor
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