Lisa Swarthout - Mayor
Send a Message

Lisa Swarthout was elected to her first term on the Grass Valley City Council in November of 2004. She was appointed to Council on August 23, 2016 and appointed Vice Mayor on December 13, 2016. Previous to her elected position she spent nine years on the Grass Valley Planning Commission.

Some of Lisa's duties on the City Council have included:
-Liaison to the City Park and Rec Commission
-Liaison with the Grass Valley Downtown Association
-Member of the City's budget committee

Lisa is also the Past Chairman of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, and past Chairman of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council. She has served on the boards of many non-profit organizations in our community including: the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, The Friendship Club, Silver Springs Foundation and Soroptimist International of Grass Valley.

Lisa received her BA in Communications from CSU Chico, and is the owner of Mill Street Clothing Company in Downtown Grass Valley . She celebrated the 20th Anniversary of her business in 2009.

Mayor Swarthout's term ends on December 8, 2020.

Ben AguilarBen Aguilar - Vice Mayor
Send a Message

Benjamin Aguilar was appointed to the City Council March 10th 2015.  His current city appointments are the Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission. 

Ben, was born and raised in Grass Valley, has served 4 years on the Grass Valley Planning Commission, serving as the Chair in 2013.  Ben is currently enrolled in the Nevada County Community Leadership Institute. 

Ben is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a B.S. in Business Administration and manages the local family business A&A Air Conditioning Heating & Sheet Metal, which has been operating for 55 years. 

Ben and his wife Allie enjoy volunteering for many local non-profits, and when there is time Ben enjoys playing golf, hiking and Barbequing.

Vice Mayor Aguilar's term will end on December 13, 2022.

Jan Arbuckle - Council Member
Send a Message

I was born and raised in Southern California, relocated to Sacramento in 1975.

I retired from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department after 18 years, where I served the community as a Deputy Sheriff and still function as a Reserve Deputy coordinating their PEER Support Program.

With a desire to serve my community, I served on the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury for two consecutive terms giving me a crash course in how local government operates and pressing community issues such as public safety, homelessness and drug addiction. In February 2007, I was appointed to the Grass Valley City Council.

In November 2008 I was elected to a four year term on the City Council and was honored to have been elected Mayor by my fellow Council Members in December of 2010.

Council Member Arbuckle's term ends on December 8, 2020

Howard Levine - Council Member
Send a Message

Howard Levine was elected to City Council in 2012 and appointed to office on August 23, 2016 and appointed Mayor on December 13, 2016. His additional current City Appointments are to LAFCO, SEDCorp, Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Solid and Hazardous Waste Committee.

Howard has served on the Grass Valley Planning Commission for 10 years and was the Executive Director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association for 13 years, bringing economic improvement to the downtown core.

As both an artist and business-person, Howard has a keen interest in the balance of Economic Development and Cultural requirements in our community. He is an instructor at Sierra College NCC and has own and operated the Swan Levine House for 40 years plus.

Council Member Levine's term ends on December 8, 2020

Hilary Hodge - Council Member
Send a Message


Hilary Hodge is a sixth-generation Northern Californian.  Her rural roots go back to the 1850s, when her family moved out west to begin homesteading in the newly established Golden State.  Hilary graduated from University of California at Davis with a degree in English Literature and a minor focusing on Colonial American History.  Hilary spent ten years in California’s State Capital before moving to Nevada County.

Hilary started her career out of college in Social Services, working as a case manager for low income families receiving subsidized child care in Sacramento County.  After moving to Nevada County, she became the Executive Director for Sierra Commons, Nevada County’s co-working space and business development center.

Hilary serves as the Communications Chair for the California Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus and works with our California Legislators to ensure that rural people have a voice in Sacramento.  She sits on the board of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and on the Government Affairs Committee for the Nevada County regional chambers. 

When Hilary isn’t working or volunteering, she sings with the Music in the Mountains Chorus, tends to her garden, and reads books checked out from our local library.  Hilary lives with her family and her four adopted shelter cats in Grass Valley.

Council Member Hodge's term will end December 13, 2022



-A +A