Open Letter to Port Hueneme City Council – Covid-19 Business Impacts

CITY COUNCIL MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 | Open Forum Comment – Covid-19 Business Impacts

The City of Port Hueneme prides itself in being the “Friendly City by the Sea.” Presumably this applies to all: residents, visitors and businesses alike.

Two years ago, the Port Hueneme City Council succeeded in passing a sales tax measure known as Measure U. This ballot initiative increased the sales tax rate to the highest level of  any municipality in Ventura County. At the time of Measure U’s passage, the City already had the highest business licensing rates within the County and was rated as being among the most business unfriendly. This followed with the Council’s passage of new water rates in 2019 that shifted rate burdens from residential customers to commercial businesses. The consequences are reflected in diminished business-related revenues as reported in the City’s adopted Budget.

Today, we’re faced with yet another challenge: regulatory measures resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past eight months, businesses have been directed to modify their procedures, shutter in place (on again and off again), and institute practices that make operations wholly infeasible. Whether or not you agree with competing politics, metrics or analytics, the indisputable fact remains: small businesses are struggling for survival and fuel 48% of the nation’s employment base.

Port Hueneme is challenged by a variety geographic and demographic factors that are unique compared to other Ventura County communities which are not similarly disadvantaged.  In  short, the Port Hueneme City Council has a chance to make a difference and evidence its support of local businesses. Your action is all the more relevant given  general  elections looming within two months and the impact of actions you take in advance of November 3rd. Please exhibit local leadership and enlist other jurisdictions and elective officials to follow suit.

Here are some suggestions:

Please take a stand and make it public.

 

Sincerely,

Consulting Services THOMAS E. FIGG

(Former Port Hueneme Mayor and Council Member)

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Tom Figg
1 month ago

Thanks to the Citizens Journal for posting this issue. Not unexpectedly, the Port Hueneme City Council did absolutely nothing. Without running afoul of the law, it wasn’t expected that discussion would ensue on the evening of Sept. 21st. But at the very least, they could have agendized discussion of the matter for the forthcoming Council meeting as was requested. Instead, they remained entirely silent.

I hope that residents and small businesses take note of the Council’s inaction and express their views on November 3rd when several incumbent members are up for re-election. This includes current Councilmembers (Will Berg and Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp) who actively promoted Measure U in 2018. That ballot measure increased the City’s sales tax rate to the highest of all Ventura County jurisdictions.

Tom Figg, Former PH Mayor and Councilmember