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Costa Mesa to explore increasing help for local businesses during coronavirus pandemic

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Costa Mesa City Hall.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Costa Mesa City Council members explored ideas during Tuesday’s meeting to help locals overcome the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, including a possible partnership with a local small business aid organization.

Costa Mesa will look into making the road easier for local businesses by exploring a partnership with the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network. The consulting and training center has been helping small businesses throughout the region as they navigate the SBA loan process. In at least one instance, the center partnered with Garden Grove to match city funds with a philanthropic donation, to increase the money available for small business assistance.

“This is being brought forward so that we could have yet another tool in our toolbox as it relates to trying to stabilize the economy, helping small businesses survive or even thrive through this pandemic,” City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison said.

The council voted unanimously to direct staff to explore a partnership with the organization.

“We need to be doing everything we possibly can right now to be supporting small businesses in Costa Mesa,” said Councilwoman Andrea Marr, who discussed the agenda item, in an interview last week. “I think that’s hard to recognize that we’re going to lose revenue as a city. But we also need to commit more general fund dollars to businesses, because that will have a payback.”

The council also formally adopted as regular ordinances the urgency measures it passed weeks ago to establish a temporary eviction moratorium and a disaster council to oversee emergency operations.

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