The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce is requesting more than $450,000 in funding for programs associated with its work plan for the upcoming fiscal year, 2023-2024, along with the waiving of fees for a variety of permit-requiring activities.
Beverly Hills Chamber CEO Todd Johnson and Brittany Ganson, the Chamber’s director of economic development and government affairs, presented the group’s work plan and funding request during an April 26 Beverly Hills City Council Liaison/ Chamber of Commerce Committee Meeting. They addressed Mayor Dr. Julian Gold and Councilmember Lili Bosse, who served as the council liaisons during the meeting.
For the upcoming year, the Chamber’s proposed programming includes participation in the annual New York Business Attraction and Retention Mission, during which Chamber leaders and City Council members will meet with businesses in the hope of bringing them to Beverly Hills while enhancing relationships with businesses already operating in the city. The Chamber is planning to set up approximately 24 meetings with companies in New York–6-8 for retention purposes and 16-18 with new businesses.
The proposed cost of the 2023-2024 New York mission is $115,000.
At $120,000, the costliest item on the Chamber’s proposed work plan for the upcoming year is Now Beverly Hills Shop Local Marketing and Promotional Program, also known as “Now Beverly Hills.” The program focuses on connecting businesses and residents while encouraging residents to shop locally. The Chamber has proposed retaining agency Symblaze, a branding and advertising firm, to manage the creative and design aspects of the program and to ensure an elevated aesthetic.
The Chamber’s packed proposals for the year also include the managing of four regular meetings, occurring quarterly, of the Beverly Hills Commercial Property Owner’s Task Force in the hopes of spurring dialogue with commercial landlords on issues concerning commercial properties. The Chamber will also conduct 12 monthly webinars and facilitate 60 one-on-one conversations with El Camino College as part of the Small Business Development Center Partnership and undertake a feasibility study on business attraction targets within Miami. The study will be presented February 2024.
Gold, for his part, expressed tentativeness about the possibility of drawing businesses from Florida’s second-most populous city.
“I’m lukewarm on the Miami concept,” the Beverly Hills mayor said.
Bosse, however, was more open to the possibility, saying she’s aware of many people who’ve relocated to the state of Florida for tax purposes. There might be opportunities there, the councilmember suggested.
The Chamber’s budget request for 2023-2024 comes after its previous budget was revised when not all work was completed by agreed-upon deadlines. The Chamber’s original budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 was more than $540,000. The revised budget was approximately $330,000.
At the meeting, Johnson expressed confidence the Chamber is equipped to handle the responsibilities of the upcoming year. “We put some hard thought and process into this with much more identifiable due dates and clarity and whatnot,” the Chamber CEO said. “I think it’s going to be that much better.”
The council liaisons during the recent meeting praised the work of the Chamber and indicated they’d approve their latest funding request.
“I completely support your request,” Bosse said. “I think you’ve done an extraordinary job. I know under Mayor Gold’s leadership it will continue to be even more extraordinary.”
Bosse also indicated that she’d approve the Chamber’s request for the waiving of permit fees–the Chamber is asking permit fees to be waived for Chamber meeting ribbon cuttings while requesting place-of-assembly fees for special Chamber events also be waived. The Chamber also requested flat parking rates for specific Chamber events.
“From my perspective, I think that the waiving of the fees and the permits is something you should continue to ask for,” Bosse said. “I think it should be embedded in the budget going forward.”
On May 2, the Chamber’s proposed work plan and associated funding request will go before the full City Council for approval.