Sonoma County BEST program to get $300,000 from county

SANTA ROSA – The Sonoma County Board of SupervisorsTuesday approved a three-year grant for $100,000 annually to the public-private economic development program Building Economic Success Together, or BEST.

The vote was 4-1 with Supervisor Valerie Brown voting no.

The funds are to come out of the county's advertising fund in the fiscal year 2010-2011 adopted budget, and the economic development board will be administering the memorandum of understanding. There agreement includes an option to extend the investment for two additional years.

The BEST program, launched in March, is a five-year collaborative partnership between the private and public sectors for business retention and expansion, job creation, economic development and more projected to create 2,500 jobs. Sonoma County lost more than 10,000 jobs since the economy turned south in 2008.

Board Chairman Efren Carrillo, responding to a question from another board member about increasing spending, said the memorandum of understanding contains quarterly reports that the program is accomplishing what it is supposed to in job growth.

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