Three days before the deadline for Mayor Ed Lee to unveil his first city and county budget proposal, he announced it will include $5.5 million for investment in San Francisco’s commercial corridors and small businesses.
The announcement Tuesday by Lee at an event in the Tenderloin builds on the mayor’s popular emphasis on job creation, which he has trumpeted since running for election in November.
The multimillion-dollar proposal would fund such things as more loans and other grants for neighborhood businesses and add city staff members in commercial corridors to help businesses deal with the challenging permitting process and educate them about government programs that could help them thrive.
The money would also pay for a new tracking system for storefront vacancies throughout San Francisco and a recruitment program to attract businesses to areas with the highest number of vacancies.
Lee uses the name “Jobs Squad” to describe the two new city staff members who would head into commercial corridors to “offer direct assistance, cut red tape and navigate city government and services” and “help small businesses access city programs and services that can help them navigate city requirements and rules.”
“We are strengthening small businesses and entire neighborhood commercial districts,” Lee said. “This requires real resources and an ‘all hands on deck’ approach from city departments, business owners and neighborhood leaders.
“By bringing a substantial commitment of new support,” Lee said, “we are replacing vacant storefronts with vibrant small businesses. We will continue to invest in our existing small businesses, the jobs they create and aid entrepreneurs looking to open up shop in our city.”
Lee must submit a balanced city and county budget by Friday to the Board of Supervisors for review and adoption. This is the first time the budget proposal will include spending for the next two fiscal years.