Santa Barbara’s Economic Development Manager Quits

By the edhat staff

The City of Santa Barbara’s first ever Economic Development Manager, Jason Harris, is leaving after three years.

City Administrator Rebecca Bjork proposed cutting Harris’ $182,193 annual salary in the upcoming 2024 budget prompting him to leave next week, reports Noozhawk.

The city is currently expecting a $1.1 million budget deficit for next year’s $220 million general fund. 

On February 10, 2020, then City Administrator Paul Casey announced the appointment of Harris as the City’s first Economic Development Manager with the goal to oversee the development and implementation of the City’s economic development program and related functions and goals.

During his tenure Harris helped to create Santa Barbara’s first property-based assessment district for Coast Village in Montecito, and begin similar assessment districts for Downtown Santa Barbara and the Funk Zone.

Harris previously worked as the Economic Development Manager for the City of Santa Monica and was the Deputy Director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Phoenix, AZ.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. He only created one special assessment district so was unable to extract enough fees to pay for his salary and support staff salary and still have enough to fix a few broken lights. The mafia was better at the old shakedown “nice business you got here, be a shame if anything were to happen to it”

  2. Jason didn’t fail – the position was set up to fail. Created under duress by the former City Manager to avoid being fired himself amidst the fallout from gridlock in the planning department. The position was emblematic at best with no political support at the City Council level to actually make needed yet unpopular policy decisions to improve economic vitality (i.e. penalizing absentee landlords for long-term commercial vacancies, taking real action on homelessness in the downtown corridor, etc.). Jason also began work at the onset fo the Covid lockdowns. He did a ton to move restaurants outside. Unfortunately, too many factors working against his success. I wish him the best in his next venture.

  3. A little late to the party, but what!! Another overpaid dollar-sink Toadie leaving SB, surprise, surprise. He goes along with the Fire captains and Police chiefs, but with no mega pension me thinks. The problems with downtown have always been the Gigando rents. and now with online shopping it will just be getting worse. Once again SB is spending millions of $$ to attract thousands of $$, plus more homeless. And, just don’t ask Paul Casey for any answers; he’s not in today…sorry.

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