CARLSBAD — The City of Carlsbad will launch a $5 million economic revitalization package on May 29, aiming to bolster existing federal assistance programs.
Carlsbad’s economic revitalization program primarily provides small business loans but in total has six different forms of business support to strengthen the local economy as Carlsbad gradually reopens.
The program plans to efficiently fill gaps left by federal assistance. However, the city currently lacks full data on which local businesses have received federal assistance to date.
Local businesses that have obtained federal assistance, however, are still struggling to adapt to the new economic climate.
For Dr. Ryan Watkins, owner of Dreamtime Dentistry in Carlsbad, the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) helped him keep his staff employed, even with a limited number of appointments.
Watkins says his patients are still hesitant to come in, leaving Dreamtime Dentistry to rely on savings and government assistance as its income declines.
“I have a small staff of five people, but that’s five different families, including mine,” Watkins said. “We won’t be able to see as many patients as we could. But we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping we can adapt with this assistance and get through.”
Dreamtime Dentistry would qualify for Carlsbad’s microloan – a loan for businesses with gross revenue of no more than $2 million and 15 employees or less.
Watkins says that although he’s uncertain when appointments will pick up again, he may not apply for Carlsbad’s loans as it would take some funds away from other local businesses that have yet to receive federal assistance.
“I do think our local businesses’ survival has been threatened and need as much support from not only our government but from the citizens in our community,” Watkins said.
The city’s plan ensures the total allocation of the $5 million would be flexible, meaning that while the expected budget for business loans is $4.4 million, changes can be approved by the Council in the future.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair Teresa Acosta, who helped consult the development of the program, says the city intends to build in accountability and evaluation measures for the program moving forward.
These measures could help track the allocation and effectiveness of the local loan program, but no details have been released about how these measures will be implemented yet.
“Whenever the government rolls out a program where they’re spending taxpayer dollars, we should be watching to make sure that everybody is doing what was planned and that we’re doing it correctly,” Acosta said. “I think they have set it up so it’s going to be effective and that we will be able to shift if there are areas where it’s lacking.”
Carlsbad’s loan applications are to be launched through an online portal. Businesses interested in applying can email bus[email protected] to receive more information and resources.