Message from the CEO – December
This past November’s election results will have a profound effect on our community in the next four to six years and beyond. Our economy, our schools and our water and power costs will all be affected by the decisions of the people that we elected. We have new city council members, new school board members and new MID members. We congratulate all of the candidates on their victories and look forward to working collaboratively with you.
Our hope is that our city will continue to be a business-friendly, safe and productive community. This will ensure business growth and job growth, which is the key to our prosperity and the quality of life for all citizens of our community. Our new elected officials, working together with business and education leaders, will solidify the future economic vitality of our vibrant city.
The Modesto City Council, both those newly elected and those continuing to serve, will have difficult choices to make in moving the city forward with a balanced budget. Measure X, which was in part meant to help the city remedy its depleted reserves, did not pass by a narrow margin. This will likely mean cuts to the city’s budget. We will look to continue our partnership with city officials to identify solutions to help the city through these difficult times.
Our business challenges continue to be formidable as the economy for the Central Valley is still weaker than other areas of California and the nation. Our businesses will be challenged by the new minimum wage increases and the still unknown cost of implementing the Affordable Care Act. We will, however, see an increase in property values and a modest increase in retail sales, including auto sales. Auto dealers in our area have been preparing for this uptick, as evidenced by their robust reinvestment in their facilities. We also continue to experience an increase in local agribusiness, which fuels our economy.
Many positive projects have developed over the past year as well. The resurfacing of Highway 99, continuing widening work on the North Corridor along Kiernan to McHenry, the Kiernan overpass, securing funding for the replacement of the Pelandale overpass, StanCOG’s focus on 132 and the North McHenry Bridge over the Stanislaus River are some of the transportation projects that will have a huge positive impact on our community. The progress of our new county courthouse also continues, and that will be a big part of the revitalization of downtown.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs” continues to be the mantra of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. Developing land and installing the necessary infrastructure to sites to attract new businesses that will bring jobs remains the priority of the Chamber in the coming year. Businesses working collaboratively with the City and County planners and the Alliance will improve our chances of bringing these jobs and creating business in our area.
As we celebrate the holiday season, let’s continue to shop local and support our local economy. May you all enjoy a wonderful holiday season and a happy and prosperous New Year!