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Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Beutner Says Permit Consultant Will Bring Change

L.A. First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner said a consultant that will be hired to overhaul the business permitting process in the city will be asked to recommend specific fixes, not to simply tell the city that the system needs to be changed. “They will help implement change,” Beutner said in an interview before addressing Valley Industry and Commerce Association members at an event on Sept. 29 where he discussed several changes his office is making in the way the city works with businesses. City officials decided to hire the consultant after shelving the so-called “12-to-2” plan after city hall bureaucrats resisted the proposal for two years and the complexity of dealing with so many departments involved in the process made the plan unworkable. Selection of a consultant is expected to be made in the next few weeks. The 12-to-2 plan received its name because it was designed to reduce the number of city departments needed to grant project approvals from a dozen to a pair. Businesses are frustrated about the time it takes to get permits in the city – in some cases more than two years to get standard permits for a small store or apartment building. The business permitting process was only one issue that Beutner talked about when he addressed the VICA members. Beutner said his No. 1 task is to help create jobs but also he is trying to implement better customer service by city departments. He said that even in his high position, Beutner must make five cold calls a week to new city customers to ask them what their experience with the city has been like. Attracting businesses and conventions to the city are also a high priority. “We are the City of Los Angeles, if you want to establish a market for your services, we can help,” Beutner said. He said that one way L.A. has been successful in drawing potential jobs to the city was to push for the state to expand the enterprise zone, which now includes a wide area from the Northeast Valley to Warner Center in the west. This could create 3,000 new jobs in the Valley, he said. Another action to help businesses, he said, has been to give a business tax holiday for three years to all new businesses that set up shop in the city. Businesses that open in Los Angeles though 2012 will be exempt from the city’s gross receipts tax for three years to help them minimize expenses while they establish themselves. Beutner said that changing the way the city does business will take a change in attitude in city hall and that comes from the top. Asked whether he would run for election as mayor of Los Angeles, Beutner said the election isn’t until 2013 and he has other things to accomplish before then. “When I came to this job, I didn’t come in with that in mind,” he said. “We’ve got some things to work on.”

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