APR 2013 – City News by Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster

Economic development is one of the most important priorities to the City of Redlands.  The health of our community is, in large part, reliant on the health of our business community.  For this reason the City offers a number of programs and services in partnership with the business community designed to assist existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurs and attract new businesses.

Below is a summary of the many ways the City works with our business partners to create and sustain a vibrant business environment.

Loan Programs

Microenterprise Assistance Grant Program

The MAP Grant provides grants in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible businesses that want to establish a business or expand an existing business located within the City of Redlands.  This is a grant, and does not have to be repaid as long as all program terms are met.  The objective of the Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP) Grant is to fulfill a need in the community; create opportunity for the establishment and expansion of microenterprise businesses within the City of Redlands; to create quality jobs, principally benefitting employees in the low-to-moderate income levels; and to preserve and expand the City’s tax base.

Economic Development Loan Program

The EDLP provides loans in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 to eligible businesses that want to establish a business or expand an existing business located within the City of Redlands. The loan must be 100% collateralized and be personally guaranteed by the borrower.  The objective of the Economic Development Loan Program (EDLP) is to fulfill a need in the community; create opportunity for the establishment and expansion of businesses within the City of Redlands; to create quality jobs, principally benefitting employees in the low-to-moderate income levels; and to preserve and expand the City’s tax base.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Program

The PACE Program is an energy efficiency, property-assessed, financing program designed to help commercial property owners improve their properties and realize the money-saving benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades with $0 down.  The program provides property owners financing for energy projects that may not be suited for traditional funding vehicles. PACE financing also helps cities and counties create jobs, spur economic development and meet their AB 32 goals utilizing no public monies.

Business Programs & Services

One-Stop Permit Center

The City of Redlands One Stop Permit Center offers a single place for businesses and developers to submit and coordinate projects and plan checks to ensure efficient and effective service and support from Building and Safety, Planning and Engineering personnel.  The One-StopPermitCenter allows for added convenience and the streamlining of activities related to plan submittals/checks, permit applications and providing information for businesses, developers and residents.

Business Consulting and Workshops

Through a partnership with SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives), the City provides free one-on-one business counseling and monthly business workshops (free and fee-based) to existing and prospective business owners.  Business workshops include information on Starting a Business, Financing, Marketing and other specialized topics.

Site Selection Assistance

The Economic Development Division can assist potential business investors, site selectors and real estate professionals with identifying potential business sites within the City of Redlands including providing information such as site-specific demographics, traffic counts, etc.

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) Services

Through a partnership with CMTC, manufacturers can receive free assistance and assessments for creating solutions for the improvement of business performance by fostering innovation and sharing knowledge. Manufacturing assessment services provided by CMTC are free to applicants; fees are charged to implement specific improvements.

Business Visitation Program

As part of the City’s business retention/economic gardening efforts, the Economic Development Division will be implementing a new Business Visitation Program in 2013.  This effort is designed to 1.) Introduce City staff to existing business owners; 2.) Identify and assist business owners with potential business-related issues; 3.) Provide information/tools to assist business owners in growing and expanding their businesses.

Business Communications

The Economic Development Division will be implementing a new business tool designed to keep the business community, potential business investors, media and other interested individuals informed about business-related news, activities and opportunities in the City of Redlands.  The monthly business brief will highlight new projects, business news and real estate opportunities, and will be free to recipients.

Online Market Analysis Tool

A collaborative effort between the City, Chamber of Commerce and Esri, this web-based tool allows both existing businesses and businesses considering locating to the City an online tool for analyzing the market area of a selected site.  The tool is free to all users, and ensures that potential business investors can identify and analyze the best locations and opportunities available in Redlands for their business.

Mills Act

The Mills Act is an economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners. Enacted in 1972, the Mills Act legislation grants participating cities and counties the authority to enter into contracts with owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, and maintenance of their historic properties. Property taxes are recalculated using a formula in the Mills Act and State Revenue and Taxation Code. The average savings for individual properties under the Mills Act contract is between 20 and 60 percent.  The full amount of the tax savings received by the property owners must be used to finance the preservation, maintenance and improvements to the property.

City of Redlands Market Night

The weekly market night (farmer’s market and vendor market) allows local businesses/vendors an opportunity to participate and promote their businesses to community residents and visitors from other communities.  In addition to business activities, the event typically features entertainment and a festive atmosphere that not only promotes local businesses but local tourism, as well, through the introduction of a unique downtown experience and the many restaurants and boutique businesses that comprise the downtown district.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these available programs or have suggestions for other ways the City can promote a vibrant business community, please contact the Economic Development office at (909) 335-4755 or by email at redteam@cityofredlands.org

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