CORAL SPRINGS, FL – From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Coral Springs has offered businesses assistance to stay afloat through the economic crash.
Here are some initiatives:
- Companies got technical help in applying for complicated state and federal loans and grants.
- Local grants were given to businesses to buy personal protective equipment and other safety measures.
- Elected officials encouraged residents to shop at city-based businesses.
But have these measures been enough in a city with a 7.1 unemployment rate?
As part of a series highlighting positions of candidates in the Nov. 3 City Commission election, TAPinto Coral Springs asked candidates if they had any fresh ideas on how to stimulate the local economy during the pandemic and attract new businesses to the city.
The responses ranged from detailed proposals to broad generalities.
Here is how the contenders for Seat #3 and Seat #5 races responded.
Noor Fawzy (Seat #3):
“The best candidate in this race will propose a long term economic plan that can help the city avoid the effects of future economic downturns. To that end, the city should enter into financial transactions that are interest-free, allow for competition in business, and promote profit- and risk-sharing as opposed to encouraging risk against speculation or uncertainty in financial practices. These measures would help to cut costs and discourage tax hikes without decreasing the amount or quality of our services, and also allow for new businesses to come in and increase the rate of consumer spending. The city should also focus its investments on real assets, such as real property, as opposed to money, as this will increase our profit returns. A culture of charity focused on helping the disadvantaged in Coral Springs would also benefit the welfare of our residents.”
Joe Morera (Seat #3):
“Of course we want new business, but our current emphasis should be on retention of existing businesses. Exploring these options may help:
- Coordinating with landlords to create flexible leasing based on revenue.
- Seek community philanthropic investors that are willing to support local economy.
- Enhance the “One Source, One Point of Contact” model as a liaison in the process of assisting new incoming businesses.”
Nancy Metayer (Seat #3):
“Broaden access to capital - There is a significant shortage of capital because of the higher risk of investing in these already stressed businesses. Therefore, new sources of capital will need to be identified. Potential methods include:
- Philanthropic grants through nonprofit business support organizations that have relationships with small businesses.
- Program-related investment (PRI) dollars to de-risk lower-interest loans by lenders.
- Policies to increase the amount of SBA 7(a) loans to minority owners.
- Marketing- Leaving a Yelp, OpenTable, or Facebook review is extra-valuable because it’s free. If not in a position to buy anything from your favorite local business right now, you can always submit a glowing write-up and contribute to ratings. You can also check-in places via Facebook, IG which shows that you publicly value the business, and encourages others to visit when its reopened.”
Andy Kasten (Seat #3):
“I think the "buy local" program that the city and Chamber of commerce are promoting are excellent ways we can engage our citizens to spend their money in our home town…Supporting businesses with monetary contributions from city grants as well will go a long way to helping our local businesses stay afloat during this time.”
Randal Cutter (Seat #3):
“I have been pleased with the fact that our city has recognized the significant strain that the pandemic has placed upon local businesses. I have seen the city and the chamber working diligently to help businesses stay afloat during this time, and I have even heard of businesses planning to open during the pandemic. But we always need to attract new businesses. The number one way that businesses will be attracted to Coral Springs is if we work to keep Coral Springs the safe city that it currently is. Businesses are fleeing cities that are defunding the police, not from a political ideology, but because they cannot continue to operate in cities where the safety of their employees and their business locations are under threat.”
Abel Pena (Seat #3):
"Yes, and for the future. As I propose in my plan: Develop and implement smart city initiatives to help will restructure the economy."
Cathy Remy (Seat #5):
“It behooves us to adopt a proactive approach regarding the future of our city. We are to offer immediate support to small businesses, we could implement a "save our businesses" initiative, highlighting those that are experiencing economic hardship, weekly. Services and products can be discounted, which would be subsidized by grants & fundraising, to motivate customers to purchase. We can also consider waiving certain code compliance fees. In addition, we can facilitate a partnership program with vocational & technical schools, as well as educational institutions, to provide training, increasing skills and marketability, as well as widening the job opportunities for the unemployed.”
Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joy Carter (Seat #5):
“During the pandemic as commissioners, when we visit local businesses, we post to our social media pages. I am using Facebook's, "Check In", to let people know where these businesses are with comments about why they are good, for others to patronize as well. There are so many gems in our community!”
Read previous articles in our series exploring where Coral Springs City Commission candidates stand on local issues:
More Coral Springs Local News:
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