By Recker McDowell —
Scottsdale needs to step on the gas and help small businesses as it looks at how to spend its $29.6 million allocation from the CARES Act.
A presentation to the Scottsdale City Council shows $6 million slated to be allocated for business assistance. That amounts to 20 percent of Scottsdale’s planned distribution of its COVID-19 stimulus money
The city is eyeing another $1.5 million to help arts and culture groups hit by the pandemic. There are also planned allocations for health safety upgrades at city buildings and facilities ($5.1 million), public safety costs related to COVID ($4 million) and care or vulnerable residents ($2.5 million). Scottsdale is also planning to set aside some CARES Act money in the case of new Coronavirus outbreaks and needs.
Scottsdale needs to be doing as much as possible and dedicating as much as money as it can to help small businesses hit hard by pandemic and all the recent fallouts. Every dollar helps right now for small businesses throughout the city including Old Town. They are in survival mode.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our tax base. We need them to bring back workers and jobs lost due to COVID closures and pullbacks in tourism and consumer spending. The city needs the tax revenue generated by small business, key industries such as tourism and all the spending and revenue generated by workers throughout the city.
Business assistance and helping arts groups are longer-term investments in Scottsdale’s economy and tax base. Let’s make those a priority as the City Council and city managers divvy of COVID stimulus money.
Other cities — including Tempe, Tucson, and Chandler — have been taking steps to help small businesses, shops and restaurants navigate and survive COVID and all the other upheavals. That includes financing marketing campaigns to help local shops and restaurants and allowing them to use parking lots and sidewalks to expand capacities limited by social distancing.
Scottsdale needs to get on that bandwagon fast including making business assistance, especially for small business and jobs, a top priority for how it spends its CARES Act money.