Susanville Mayor Quincy McCourt addressed the Lassen County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, Sept. 19 meeting and again asked the county to join the city and the Susanville Indian Rancheria in their economic development effort.
The city and the SIR recently joined forces to hire an economic development director who would represent both entities but serve as a city employee with the cost shared equally by both entities. The city’s and the SIR’s initial recruitment effort failed to attract a suitable candidate, so the city has hired a consultant to widen the search.
“I just want to touch base with y’all about economic development,” McCourt said. “You’ve heard me talk about it before, but I’m bringing it up again. We’ve got strategies that range all across the spectrum, and I think economic development really is a full spectrum — anything from preserving a business we already have to making way for organic construction of business, just letting it happen organically, to a much more diversified strategy that involves the effort of all of us.”
McCourt said he’s read most if not all of the economic development documents created in Lassen County during the past 40 years, and they reveal the reasons why these efforts have not been successful.
“There have been two missing ingredients,” McCourt said. “Number one was collaboration, and that’s just the ability for all of us to partner on our county and our city and the benefit we can all arrive at. And number two was consistency. We may have done something here and there, but we didn’t consistently invest into our community and our economy. And so, with those two ingredients missing, now’s the time to change that.”
McCourt called the agreement between the city and the SIR “a really cool partnership focused solely on economic development,” and they continue to search for a candidate to fill the newly created vacant position.
“So, the ask is essentially — the city and the rancheria are going to continue to take this seriously but with partnership and collaboration being the critical components that if the county would like to figure out ways to enhance our budget and be a part of that, that might be a great contribution. Something to think about. We don’t know where this is exactly going yet, but we need to work with the community to figure out where we’re heading and then reverse engineer and work our way back. In order to invest and reinvest in the community, we have to make money.”
By McCourt’s analysis, economic development would increase the county’s budget and allow the county to focus on the community’s needs.
“Economic development empowers us in a way that provides us with staff to focus on some of the less desired outcomes,” McCourt said. “So anyway, we’ve begun that partnership, and if you want to join on, we would totally welcome (you).”