BRAWLEY — City council members George Nava and Donnie Wharton presented a business roundtable discussion to the Brawley city council during their regular meeting on April 4.
“We asked our participants what are some of the challenges, benefits, or expenses that they have faced being downtown,” said Nava of a recent survey of business owners.
Several Brawley businesses were asked to discuss different topics such as the Downtown Specific Plan, business relocation, business incentives, community cleanup, lighting, and conducting a potential business survey.
At the discussion, council members learned the installation of, or rerouting the water meters and back-flow preventers are a major cost for local businesses. There were suggestions for some type of credit that could lessen the initial burden of the installation.
Other possible business incentives included making the downtown a “No Fee Zone,” offering an employee hiring credit, offering a sales tax credit, have the option to pay impact fees just prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, and charging a minimum use fee to vacant building owners.
“Incentives may entice businesses to relocate or expand their business to the downtown area,” said Wharton.
Ideas for cleanup incentives included a focused cleanup of the downtown area, median landscaping, and a community cleanup day.
Suggestions included a downtown lighting plan which could change the look of the downtown areas at night. The city has a new lighting plan for the Plaza Park area to be put into place starting this year.
It was also suggested that a business survey could help to get a better picture of how local businesses see downtown Brawley.
“We ended up getting some important input concerning the business climate from our discussion,” said Nava.