Submitted to KNCO By Terry Lamphier
The most common question I hear when out in public (and I’m out in public a lot, these days) is “how’s it going as Supervisor”? My stock – and true – response is along the lines of ‘it’s good, I like it and County staff is great – they work hard with citizens to resolve issues and come up with solutions that I think are fair and equitable. My relations with fellow Board members are civil and, despite some differences here and there, my perspective is that current Board members take the task of service to the community seriously and work diligently to be sure they and County staff serve our community with a high level of professionalism and fairness.’
While we are constrained by laws, codes and regulations, I’m impressed by the emphasis County staff places on using creative collaboration instead of force to handle difficult issues. A satisfying part of my job involves helping private citizens, business folks, contractors, etc. when they don’t know where to turn or who just need an advocate. Our Board office staff members, with their wealth of experience and knowledge, are an incredible resource for our Board in researching possible solutions.
On a more personal note, I spent the first several months basically learning how things work and what I can and can’t do (still learning!). I have also been learning about the various committees to which I have been appointed, have been attending any and every public meeting within 50 miles on economic development and other important issues of the day, and going to numerous local organization functions so that we can get to know each other and to further, when appropriate, our mutual interests.
These meetings are beginning to pay off in that it provides to me a huge knowledge and resource pool where I can make connections for folks that wouldn’t ordinarily get made. For example, in my role as a representative on our joint housing authority (with Sutter County), I have become aware of potential funding sources for economic and infrastructure development related to housing. While County and City of Grass Valley staff are generally familiar with “what’s out there”, they are not always able to keep up with new programs due to work demands, so I’ve been able to pass along info that they may not have had.
As a biomass task force member, a member of a broadband task force as well as a member of an economic development agency, I’m in a position to relay information as it develops with the goal of furthering economic development.
I have two specific projects I’m currently assisting in moving forward. One is the development of a new, safe pedestrian path connecting Grass Valley and Nevada City which, due to the diligence and hard work of a private citizen, should come at little to no cost to the County while eventually providing a short, but beautiful non-motorized connection between areas of jobs and housing.
Another, grander project is working with the City of Grass Valley to improve economic opportunities in the old Bear River Mill site, an area set aside as an SDA (special development area). Staff has already been able offer preliminary assistance to a small business in the area, which will ultimately lead to new jobs. The potential for this site is huge: it directly adjoins Highway 49 and will be very near a new “next generation” broadband cable that will be going in within a year or two. The site is large, relatively flat and in close proximity to retail shopping. Some possible regulatory changes under consideration could help existing local businesses in the area. Challenges are huge, as well, and any changes will ultimately have to have community support and realistic financial approaches.
As we all, County government folks and citizens alike, approach a new year and (probably) more economic challenges, I will continue to pursue and encourage new thinking and creative, pragmatic approaches to enhancing the health and success of our county.
I’ll close by saying “thank you” to the voters in my community who have given me this opportunity. I may be contacted at 265-1480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.