Saturday, January 31, 2009

Letter to the Business Community

Dear Apalachicola Business Leaders,

It only takes a small shift one way or the other to make a negative or positive impact on a community, it can be the determining factor in whether a town is headed toward greater prosperity or toward troubled times. A positive approach can shift us in a direction to overcome this economic downturn we are faced with today. It requires a response not only from your federal and state officials but from your city level officials as well, carefully considering priorities and responding to current conditions in planning Apalachicola’s business and economic future.

I certainly understand this economic slowdown is putting increased pressure on your small business. Rising unemployment, mortgage woes and troubles with credit are causing people to spend less, and with that drop in spending, money to pay for employees is declining as well. We encourage you to search for ways to turn this economic challenge into business opportunities by considering new ideas to reduce costs and inefficiencies as an alternative means to improve your business cash flow rather than ending much needed employee positions when at all possible.

Along with myself and our city administrator, a group of key officials from the local banking institutions and Chamber of Commerce have partnered to search for ways to offer assistance in these challenging times. The Chamber is diligently working to promote our unique and pristine area to entice visitors that will shop and dine in your establishments. They have also initiated a “Think Local First” campaign to encourage local shopping throughout the year. Our local banks have favorable loan programs and with the current low interest rate, they assure us that now is the time to consider refinancing and/or consolidation. It has been announced by the US Department of the Treasury that approval has been granted to at least one of our local banks to receive allocations for Preferred Stock under the Treasury's Voluntary Capital Participation Program. These funds are set aside so that financial institutions can make additional loans to qualified recipients to help stimulate local economies. We encourage you to contact all three of our local banks to find out what financial assistance opportunities are available to assist you in protecting your investments.

City officials have demonstrated their willingness to help the local economy by approving the highest property tax cuts in the county over the past three years and have made some tough decisions to tighten the annual budget without cutting essential services. We are considering a temporary reduction in city service fees to businesses in an effort to offset the slack season and exploring possible incentives to assist businesses with temporary cash flow loans which can be repaid from proceeds generated during your more productive peak season.

I truly believe that through our collective knowledge, expertise, resources, and partnerships, we are uniquely positioned to help the Apalachicola business community continue to thrive through and beyond this temporary economic slowdown. I am sincerely inspired by your dedication to offer goods and services to our local citizens and visitors - Thank You!


Van W. Johnson, Sr., Mayor
The Historic City of Apalachicola

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posted by The Mayor @ 1/31/2009 01:43:00 AM   0 Comments Links to this post


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