Williams stepping up economic development

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While the new Love’s Truck Stop in Williams is open and attracting people from around the area and motorists on Interstate 5, its isolation in a large expanse of open land won’t be forever. 

The Williams City Council, at their March 20 meeting, established a $5,000 budget for economic development and outreach. 

“Staff has been doing community outreach,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy. “It started a couple of years ago with the Colusa Farm Show.”

With Love’s open and the city poised for growth of the Highway 20 Business Park, Kennedy said Williams can target the right kind of development with more outreach. The $5,000 would allow staff to begin printing materials that support economic development opportunities in Williams, primarily within the city’s designated Opportunity Zone. 

“We have some already and want to take it to the next level,” Kennedy said. 

In 2017, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed by President Donald J. Trump, established Opportunity Zones as a mechanism to provide tax incentives for investment in designated census tracts. Investments made by individuals through special funds in these zones would be allowed to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains.

“Businesses could get these tax breaks for coming into Williams,” Kennedy said.  

Councilman John Troughton said he wants to see city officials attend business expos and trade shows around the state to show people unfamiliar with Williams what a great development opportunity the city has. 

“We want to promote Williams (with materials and board displays) that show our Business Park in reference to Highway 20 and I-5,” he said. “Our intent is to give them handouts that show them where we’re at and what kind of property is available.” 

Troughton said he would also like to see a video of the town made that could be used, sent out to prospective businesses, and a completed traffic study that shows an accurate count of people coming in and out of the area.  

The City Council voted 5-0 to establish a $5,000 budget for activities related to economic development outreach.