The greatest job growth in California is clean tech. We need to double our efforts to diversify our economic activity to transition from too much dependence on the refinery and gas stations and more clean tech companies. We need to protect the businesses we have and upgrade the Business and Industrial Park with fiber optics, and repurposing “warehouse” buildings for more revenue generating businesses. We need to invest and modernize this economic engine that provides the revenue for city services - parks, police and fire, human services, arts and culture and a livable, walkable historic town.(show more)
In 2015 we invested in water conservation through innovative Water Smart, our water customer engagement program that demonstrably saves water and money. Benicia Community Gardens sponsored classes on connecting laundry appliances to landscape grey-water systems. The Benicia Community Sustainability Commission provided grants for these and “permaculture” projects, which demonstrate how residents can convert their yards to productive fruit and vegetable gardens using a holistic approach. We are learning valuable tools to help us become more resilient in an era of change.
In 2015 we continued with an innovative energy and water conservation grant program, again through the Community Sustainability Commission. Using funds from the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement, the City continues to provide $10,000 grants for energy saving efforts such as replacing lights, installing solar panels and computer monitoring of energy use for more efficient operations. Businesses can use the energy savings for expanding, modernizing or hiring more employees - reinvesting in Benicia.
In 2015 Benicia invested in our future. By investing in our historic neighborhoods, we link economic synergy with the historic, commercial downtown and arsenal neighborhoods. We have increased the number of designated historic properties, which qualify for tax incentives and in turn add value to our historic neighborhoods. Thanks to a $3.6 million restoration of the city’s Commanding Officer's Quarters in the former military arsenal district, we were able to complete a long-term lease in 2015 for a new business hub there, providing a central location for innovators and investors.