Creation of a new economic development program that would supplement the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to improve the city’s business climate was discussed by members of the City Council Tuesday.
Pat Anderson, president and CEO of the local chamber, suggested that the city send representatives to a League of California Cities Economic Development Conference in Long Beach on July 20 to learn more about how such a program could help bolster local small businesses and attract new retailers.
While the City Council is still working out details of how to form such a program, Mayor Dave Spence said that the first step would be the formation of an ad hoc subcommittee, most likely to be composed of himself and Councilman Donald Voss, to begin the planning stage.
“We would look at what ideas we could bring from the program put on by the League of California Cities and we would try to adapt those to our community with the help of the Chamber [of Commerce],” said Spence.
Although the specifics have not yet been decided upon, Spence said the subcommittee would have to be flexible, and open to looking at any economic challenge and opportunity in the city.
“I think our focus needs to be to help the Chamber and the business community to fill up all the vacancies,” he said. “And if there are any new businesses that are looking and applying for the possibility of starting up a business in La Cañada, is there something the city can do to make that new business more successful.”
Anderson called for a program that could work to bring in new retail business, not simply support the existing business community, a role already filled by the Chamber of Commerce.
“The more sales tax [the city collects], the healthier the general fund,” Anderson said.
Spence said that the other main issue the subcommittee would address is whether an economic development program would bring in outside consultation.
“I’m not sure we need a consultant to come in, and us spend $30,000 to $50,000, to tell us how to help,” said Spence. “I think we’ve made good decisions in the past and will continue to do so.”