Council Extends Lifeline to Coffs Businesses

6 months ago | by

Phase Two of a Local Business Support Plan developed by Coffs Harbour City Council to help local businesses and the wider community manage the financial impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic has been adopted by Councillors.

Among the proposals for this latest phase is to temporarily suspend street parking patrols and waive the fees or suspend inspections for food, beauty, tattoo and swimming pool businesses.

In addition, businesses or groups that rent Council-owned facilities and are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic will be provided with rent relief for April, May and June 2020. The rent relief is to be reviewed at the end of June and may continue if further economic assistance is needed. A report is also to be brought back to Councillors on how Council could support Neighbourhood Centres across the local government area during the pandemic.

“It’s good to see direct help getting to the small local businesses and groups who are so much a part of the community in better times,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight. “Everyone at Council remains deeply focused on providing as much support as possible as this crisis unfolds.”

A Local Business Support Plan proposed by the Mayor and supported by Councillors was initiated in March. The two phases of the plan provide around $1.35m in potential savings for local businesses and the community.

Key measures from Phase One included:

  • Encouraging everyone to buy local and support local business #buylocal #supportlocal;
  • Amending Council’s ‘Rates, Charges and Fees – Financial Hardship Policy’ to apply to non-residential properties;
  • Suspending new debt recovery actions for outstanding accounts where financial hardship is evident;
  • Removing account keeping fees, late and reminder fees and credit card surcharges;
  • Council buying goods and services from local businesses;
  • Deferring the 2020/21 Special Rate for city centre businesses and associated infrastructure works to the same value; and
  • Providing loan repayment relief for existing loans to community groups.

A Recovery Plan for the whole Coffs Harbour community is also being developed, which will focus on broad business and organisation recovery to augment available Federal and State Government programs, as well as strong advocacy with other levels of government.

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