City Council

City Council



Lisa Swarthout


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.


Ben Aguilar

Vice Mayor

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. 


Jan Arbuckle

Council Member

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.


Howard Levine

Council Member

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.


Hilary Hodge

Council Member

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.