On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council will provide direction on the Economic Development Commission’s recommendation for the Antioch Small Business COVID-19 Recovery, Retention, and Thriving Plan.
The Economic Development Commission is proposing using $360k from the General Fund to be utilized to assist Antioch small businesses by subsidy or reimbursable grants. According to the city, $120k could be re-programmed from the current General Fund Economic Development budget, the remaining $240k would require a budget amendment.
There is the possibility that some of this cost could be borne by CARES Act funds the City will be receiving from the State if the costs are demonstrated to relate directly to business impairment as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The EDC recommendation is as follows
- Education, Training, and Networking Exchange – Create a clearinghouse of information to support Antioch businesses; provide online classes with subject matter experts; roundtable/Town Hall discussions; business cost reduction trainings; outreach tools – $50,000
- Business Resource Guide – Creation of a resource guide that provides information on recovering, maintaining (retaining), and thriving in the new business climate. The resources could include personal protective equipment resources and guidance, funding sources, visitation programs by City representatives, peer networking information, and continued technological assistance – $10,000
- Marketing Assistance– Provide assistance to advertise through print, radio, and digital. Development of mobile app to feature Antioch businesses. This line item would also provide funding for professional photography for ads – $115,000
- Improving City Processes – The City should continue to find creative ways to allow businesses to function in these new conditions. The providing of industry specific guidance like the Outdoor Dining and Business applications is key and appreciated. The City should also consider providing a Business License Tax relief to existing companies with 50 employees or less. Discounting the renewal of companies that fall into that category by $100 would result in an approximate $110,000 subsidy.
- Applied Resources and Incentives (Grants) – The City could create numerous mechanisms to support local businesses through competitive and need-based grants. The EDC wants to stress the City should not duplicate the efforts of the SBA funding programs and should create programs that are unique. Some examples of direct funding could be through:
- Competitive grants where a company’s needs are factored into the decision to receive the funding (funding would be provided through the City’s General Fund)
- Business Operations grants could be created to help companies operate better in the post COVID-19 world. PPE for employees or devices/equipment with the purpose of reducing exposure of staff and customers could be purchased with this funding (funding would be provided through the City’s General Fund).
- Advance Business Training grants would be designed to inspire the creation of Antioch-based corporations.