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City Council Trying To Boost Small Businesses

Four members of the City Council today unveiled a package of proposals to boost the 90,000 small businesses that operate in San Diego.

Council President Tony Young said the proposals are the result of several months of meeting with owners of small firms and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, along with Councilwoman Lorie Zapf.

"These small businesses are the powerful engines that drive our economy," Young said.

The proposals are designed to make dealing with City Hall easier, and city staff more cooperative, he said.

The ideas include:

  • offering businesses an amnesty period to fix building code violations, which Zapf said often prevent a firm from undertaking another more productive project;
  • reinstating the position of small business liaison, eliminated after the previous job-holder retired;
  • holding special City Council meetings to specifically address business enhancement and regulatory relief;
  • making Business Improvement Districts better and help them foster innovation; and
  • creating a council policy that all new legislation that affects businesses will expire in three years unless reauthorized by a vote.

"Hopefully, this will make life easier for the 'small businesses that could,' if we just removed the barriers and let them do what they do best," Zapf said.

Councilman David Alvarez said he has heard from small shop owners that the city has too much bureaucracy and creates too many hurdles.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer also attended the announcement.

Ruben Barrales, the chamber president, said 90 percent of the companies in San Diego are classified as small businesses, and 64 percent of the workforce is employed in such firms.

Most of the package is scheduled to be introduced to the full City Council this summer, according to Young's office. The exception is the small business liaison position, which the council members hope to add to the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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