After continuing the issue for several sessions, the Colusa City Council has approved opening a public application period for an Economic/Community Development Grant Writer, Communications and Tourism Director, a newly created department director position for the city. 

In January, the city contracted Kristy Levings, of Golden Oaks, as a rural economic development consultant for the Pirelli Rehabilitation Project. Since then, Levings has worked with the city to develop the Pirelli project as well as an Ag Biomaterials Industry Cluster project and to create a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) report, all with the intent of creating new business ventures, revenue streams and grant opportunities for the city. 

Last month, City Manager Jesse Cain brought to council a motion to hire Levings as the Economic Development, Communications and Tourism Director for the city. The motion to hire on Levings was continued in early July before it was modified to a public application period and interview process open to all qualified applicants. This revised position would replace the contracted position currently held by Levings. 

The motion was again continued during the council’s Aug. 4 meeting to allow time for additional fact checking before final discussions during the Aug. 18 meeting. 

In a 3-2 vote, the council approved the creation of the new position, with a request that the funds suggested for the position be decreased by ten percent, making the total yearly salary about $96,000. 

According to Cain, this position will be tasked with promoting and helping local businesses succeed, looking and applying for applicable grants, promoting and expanding on local tourism and events in addition to looking for new ways to bring money into the city through these avenues. Since bringing the original motion before the council, Cain has been adamant that the several grant funding revenues expected through this position will cover the additional costs it adds to the city’s budget. 

“If we were to hire this position, I do anticipate by next July or next June or next fiscal year, that this position will have proven that by grants and administration costs that we are receiving back will fully fund itself,” said Cain.

The city has already been selected to receive three grants to date and Cain said that money from these grants has already been allocated for administration fees that can be used to pay for this new position in addition to anticipated funds from other grants that the city has applied for. 

Although the city moves forward with a current budget deficit of more than $300,000, this is the second position the city has added to its repeater in recent weeks. 

The council also approved reinstating the Colusa Police Department Lieutenant position, one that Cain said has been vacant for years, during their Aug. 4 meeting.

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