JAN 2012 – City To Hold Free Small Business Workshop Series

The City of Redlands will present a free monthly Small Business Workshop series, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Each two-hour workshop is designed to help small businesses in areas such as starting a small business, marketing and financing. The workshops are co-sponsored by SCORE Inland Empire.

The sessions will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the City Council Chambers, 35 Cajon St. Additional sessions are scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 29 and March 28. To register, visit the SCORE website at http://inlandempire.score.org/localworkshops. You may also contact Heather Smith at hsmith@cityofredlands.org or call (909) 798-7629.

City of Redlands press releases and other information are available on the City’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofredlands or on the City’s website at www.ci.redlands.ca.us


U. S. Post Office threatens hundreds of jobs in the City of Redlands

The Federal Government is about to decide if it should stay or go, a decision that will effect hundreds if not thousands of residents in the Redlands area. While unemployment in the Inland Empire still hovers at an all time high and the government feigns at efforts to put a finger in the hole of the unemployment dike the U. S. Post Office is ready to drop the axe on hundreds of jobs by closing the distribution center in Redlands and rerouting the mail processing to smaller facilities further south or east.

In an effort to streamline, downsize and economize the postal czars are attempting to strangle the very life out of facilities that appear to be serving the public well and effectively.

While meetings have indicated that if Redlands processing is closed a portion of the processing will go to neighboring Moreno Valley, a smaller facility, just twenty miles away, that facility smaller in size will not be able to handle the volume.

While the outrage of no more first class delivery and the inconvenience to bulk rate customers is bad enough the real insult is the hundreds of workers who will have to relocate or lose their jobs should the decision to close be made regarding the Redlands site.

In the real business world it would make better sense to close the satellite offices and bring operations back to the larger base. But trust the Federal Government to over think the solution and impact the lives of hundreds of citizens and leave a gapping hole in the economy of a town that is already struggling to stay afloat.

Should the guillotine fall and the center close yet another building will stand empty and surrounding businesses will be affected. The burger joint and sandwich shops who have served those postal workers breakfast lunch and dinner for years will wonder not where the beef went but where the customers went? The gas stations and retailers will find a significant drop in sales when that many customers leave en mass. The housing market will take a hit as workers will either be forced to relocate, sell or simply walk away.

The U. S. Post Office needs to think long and hard about the financial impact a closure of this size will have on the entire community. Other closures throughout the country have much smaller numbers to deal with 2 to 20 employees that will easily be absorbed.

When you are talking about hundreds of jobs and impacting thousands of people you need to be very sure you are not making a knee jerk decision but considering the bigger picture and influence on so many lives.

Redlands to propose Sign Code Amendment

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce will ask the City Council to consider an amendment to the Sign Code that will allow business outside the downtown business arena for the opportunity to use A-frame signs. The current code does not allow businesses to use A-frame structures if located outside the geographic confines of the Downtown Business District.

During these extremely difficult economic times businesses are reinventing, recreating new and innovative ways to find new customers and clients and many are looking for unique and distinctive advertising opportunities. While A-frames have been banned in commercial areas outside of downtown many businesses have opted for using them attempting lure customers in, but have found themselves on the wrong side of the law and have been cited by code enforcement and forced to remove the violating sign.

While amendments have been suggested they come at enormous cost to the individual so the Chamber is seeking an Ordinance Text Amendment that would allow A-frame signs to be used by businesses that are not currently permitted to do so.

Size, construction and placement will all be considered in the amended language to minimize clutter and still allow businesses to advertise appropriately.

The amendment will be processed through the Planning Commission then on to City Council with adequate time for public input. With smooth sailing the amendment could be approved as early as the first of the year, 2012. Watch for updates on the website and via email and if needed be prepared to lobby council for quick and equitable action on behalf of all the businesses of Redlands.

The National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Fee

             The City of Redlandshas mailed out letters and invoices and the subject matter is the National Pollution Elimination System (NPDES) Regulatory Compliance Program.  The letter explains that Congress (Government Agency #1) established the Water Quality Act establishing the NPDES program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (Government Agency #2) overseen by the State and administered by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Government Agency #3) that has partnered with the City of Redlands (Government Agency #4) that will collect the NPDES Compliance Fee, in conjunction with business license renewal fees.

            The City will also determine the business classification or in lay terms determine what fee is to be charged to “qualifying” businesses.  The letter reads the “regulatory fee has been in effect since 2004 and is necessary to fund a portion of the program activities, such as periodic business inspections, program compliance, reporting, record keeping, educational outreach, monitoring activities, personnel etc.”.

            The Chamber, like many of the businesses, was unaware of the fee and the collection method and is now working with elected officials and city staff to understand the process and help to develop a better communication system in the future that will avoid surprising fees and unexpected, unbudgeted surcharges.