Over the past few months, we have seen local government move more rapidly than ever before to support local businesses as they adapt to and comply with stringent State regulations.

We know that the fiscal health of the City is essential to the wellbeing of our local businesses and that continued support for local businesses will in turn support the health of our City and benefit all residents.

At their October 20th meeting, the SLO City Council reviewed their budget with a focus on the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the new programs that have been enacted to support the major city goal of economic stability, recovery and resiliency.

Many of the existing business support mechanisms, have been incredibly successful and we are advocating that they be expanded, adapted or made permanent. Programs including:

  • Parklets
  • Tenant Improvement Program
  • Business Grant Program
  • Landlord tenant rental dispute mediation partnership with Creative Mediation
  • Investments in pedestrian and bike friendly infrastructure
  • Parking changes
  • Forthcoming public art projects

Additionally, through the work of our committees and Board, we proposed that the City explore additional ways to support local businesses, focusing on actions that have the double benefit of addressing immediate challenges and also paving the way for long term success:

  • Incentives to fill downtown storefronts
  • Infrastructure to support remote work and distance learning
  • Homelessness prevention programs
  • Bike share
  • Zoning flexibility to allow more uses for street level spaces

Overall, the Chamber believes that the City’s budget forecasting is based on the appropriate assumptions and that the necessary, although painful, cuts and reprioritizations have been made to solve immediate budget gaps.

Although balanced in the short term, we are still concerned about the City’s fiscal health into the future. The cuts made are essential right now but are not a longterm solution.

That is just one of the reasons why the SLO Chamber is proud to stand alongside so many other organizations and individuals and enthusiastically support Measure G-20. Without Measure G the fiscal outlook is uncertain at best –  but with it we can invest in our city in this critical time and ensure that our most vulnerable individuals and industries are not left behind in the recovery.