Old Timer – June 2020

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MMy last couple of columns were a little on the touchy-feely side as I was highly depressed with the state of affairs in the world due to this stupid “china flu” nonsense. I called it that just so that SA’s mayor can choke on his martini tonight and send the hate-brigade to come arrest me.

And since I’m done with my touchy-feely moments, I’m pissed again.

Our city is in shambles, whether you realize it or not. Many of you do very little in our fair town, and simply lie your head at the end of the day here. You don’t frequent our coffee shops, don’t enjoy dinner at our local eateries, and honestly do little but drive to San Antonio for work, come home, and sleep. Repeat.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there are lots of hurting small businesses in our area, and so here are my 5 ways to help save our local business community with rational, logical solutions from yours truly.

CLOSE WAL-MART

If our Mayor can shut down Tusculum Brewery and all of our retail shops and label them “non-essential”, then he can do the same to Wal-Mart. Prove me wrong. Oh, it takes an “emergency” to do that? That’s fine – we have a fiscal emergency occurring. Close Wal-Mart for a month. They’ll be fine. It won’t drop their stock one penny. Force those 4,000 customers a day to shop locally for their nonsense.

PROPERTY TAX FORGIVENESS PROGRAM

Local leaders closed our local businesses and told them that “things will just be ok!” So, I agree with them and believe that they, too, should feel the pinch. Our local taxing authorities (for property/school/etc) should give us a 3 month moratorium on tax revenues. If we can deal with it, so can they. You then have 12 months to show that you spent those 3 months worth of tax amounts locally. If so, you get a pass. I have no doubt that government will survive the financial pinch here lately. After all – what’s the old saying? “Death and taxes”?

UTILITY DEPARTMENT STIMULUS PROGRAM

Did you know that it costs local businesses $90 a month (at last check) simply to have electric services provided to their business? They could then not turn on a single light nor run the AC, and their bill will never be lower than $90 per month. What this means is that our utility departments have been enjoying some seriously fat bank accounts for many, many decades. So I propose that they kick back $2000 per business simply as a grant and as a way to lessen the pain immediately. They’ve enjoyed extortionist fees forever, and a $2000 check to our local small business would mean everything. After all, the utility bills didn’t stop even though the businesses were closed down, did they?

STOP PERMIT FEES FOR 90 DAYS

Going with the same theme of “Don’t worry about it, small business owners – everything will be fine!” that the City said to people, this shall also apply to my most favorite department in town, Code Enforcement. So, for the next 90 days while small businesses are needing to put out WE’RE OPEN banners and whatnot, there will be no permits necessary. Did you know that businesses must go to Code Enforcement, fill out a form, and pay a fee (per 30 days I think) in order to hang a banner? Yeah, the last things these guys need right now is another damn fee, so let’s have Code Enforcement enjoy a 90 day vacation and let’s allow our small eateries and retail shops loudly announce their re-openings…without undue government fees.

ADVERTISEMENTS INCLUDED IN CITY UTILITY BILLS

Everyone in the area gets a Utility bill, and everyone opens it. The City is now going to allow small businesses to sign up with the City, provide them a “flyer” that the City is then going to include in the Utility bills envelope. This flyer is going to include a $20 discount on the Utility bill if a receipt from the advertised small business is included with the check for the next utility bill. Basically, the City is going to comp $20 off your utility bill as an incentive to get you shopping and dining locally. I love it for obvious reasons.

Ok, that’s a start. I’m sure someone much smarter than I will poke holes in my ideas and tell me how or why they won’t work, but I would also challenge that person to come up with an alternative plan. While  our businesses have been getting crushed, I see no change in our tax revenues for our fair city, and I’m not sure that’s a great look right now. So if private businesses have been hurting and need some help, I think it only fair for our local government to step in, feel the same pain, and lend that hand.

None of my ideas will happen as I have a 100% track record of being completely ignored by the powers that be, but dammit, this should happen.

Ok, talk again next month. Now get out there and buy something local, for crying out loud.