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COMMENTARY/17″/dt1st By LAURA CHICK It’s not easy being a small-business owner. I know the trials and tribulations firsthand; my father has been a small-business owner all his life, and I worked right alongside him for many, many years. I remember the impossibly tight budgets, the unbelievably long hours and the fear sometimes that maybe we just couldn’t do it. Yet every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself, an opportunity that can help a business to succeed. The proposed Reseda Business Improvement District (BID) is just one such opportunity. Small-business budgets are tough to determine, and the Reseda business community has seen brighter days. It is difficult to determine where those scarce dollars should go. Business owners demand and deserve control over their hard-earned funds. A BID gives the business community total control over how it wants to spend its dollars and funds only those efforts that businesses believe would be most beneficial to them. The creation of a Reseda BID is made possible under a 1989 state BID law that allows business owners to voluntarily assess themselves in order to pay for common improvements. The Reseda BID will provide funding for a whole host of services the business community identifies as needed, such as added security and better marketing. The district’s boundaries include the central commercial corridors of Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way. We live in a day when we recognize the answer to all that ails us is not big government. In fact, in the San Fernando Valley, many believe the panacea is to be found in smaller government. I was elected with the philosophy that government is there to serve the people, to listen to their needs and to find solutions to their problems. The Reseda BID is a solution to the problem of a rebounding business district. It represents a real and workable partnership between business owners and their local government. This area has so much to offer, and even after suffering as it did in the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake, I am proud to point to a partnership that’s working in Reseda. With my leadership, $75,000 in city funds were allocated to the business district to give the BID process a jump start. Just as Reseda business owners are committed to joining together to enhance their district, so too is the city there to match that commitment. The BID will improve the area with funds that can go toward anything from cleaning streets, sidewalks, alleys and parking lots to increasing security, enhancing marketing efforts and, ultimately, increasing property values. The assessment formula used is based upon the amount of front footage that each business occupies and varies from $7.50 to $11.97 per foot of street frontage. The district would include approximately 750 businesses. I believe in Reseda, and I believe in this BID. I walked the business corridor to encourage owners to support the merchant-based BID. This is an exciting time for Reseda and the entire West San Fernando Valley. This BID offers a chance for local business owners to show just how much they care about the resurgence of Reseda; I know I care an awful lot, and I’m sure they do, too. The Northridge earthquake hit the San Fernando Valley hard, and the community of Reseda reeled with the impact. Yet, working together with other government agencies, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, the local business community, and residents, we have undertaken a comprehensive revitalization strategy that is showing real signs of success. This BID is an important piece of that comprehensive plan. I expect business owners to throw their full support behind the BID and hope to see Reseda’s streets and stores bustling with traffic and shoppers. For less than $500 a year for the average business owner, the entire Reseda business district can join together to improve the area and invest in a successful business enterprise: their own. I’ll see you, with my shopping bags full, on Sherman Way. Laura Chick is a Los Angeles City Councilwoman representing the communities of Canoga Park, Encino, Reseda, Tarzana, West Hills, West Van Nuys, Winnetka and Woodland Hills in the West San Fernando Valley.

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