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SEAL BEACH : City Won’t Help Pay for Business Survey

The city has decided not to help fund a survey of business needs in Orange County because city officials saw little value in the expected results.

The Orange County Census of Business Needs, to be conducted by the Community College Districts of Orange County, will survey an estimated 97,000 businesses and classify them by category, size, number of employees and stability.

The districts’ consultant will use the data to project hiring and purchasing trends for the next three to five years.

All Orange County cities were asked to put up $10,000 to $65,000 each to receive detailed information tailored for their municipality.

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City councils in Seal Beach, Stanton, Los Alamitos and Westminster declined in July, saying they could not afford even the minimum charge.

So the consultant set up a special joint sponsorship of $2,500 each for them.

The Resource Group will release a tally of participating cities by Sept. 11, research analyst Lisa Sato said.

Councilwoman Gwen Forsythe was adamant that Seal Beach not take part because she was concerned that businesses’ responses about the future might reflect their highest hopes, not reality.

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“I really don’t see what end product this could create that’s going to be of any use to anybody because I don’t think the information would be reliable, given the recession we’re in,” she said.

The council agreed, voting 5 to 0 not to participate.

The city may buy a scaled-down version of the results for $250 to $750, Development Services Director Lee Whittenberg said.

“Some of the information is still useful to the city because of the overall business retention information and the business mix in the city,” he said. “It helps us see what businesses are planning on moving.”


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