The Other Half of Our Community
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The Other Half of Our Community

By the latest estimates, Foster City's population is about 32,700 and the number of employees who work in Foster City is more than 20,000. The workforce is not actually half but the business community contribution to our City is substantial and has an intrinsic link to the quality of life we all enjoy. In addition to the Fortune 500 companies such as Gilead, Visa, IBM, Illumina, there are hundreds of small businesses that deserve our support.

While small businesses may not generate as much money as the larger corporations, they play a critical part in our local economy and are a major contributor to our quality of life. Small Businesses provide employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger companies. They also provide amenities and services within our community saving us from driving to other cities especially with the current traffic congestion we are experiencing in the bay area.

When we patronize local small businesses, we are essentially giving money back to our community. A thriving local business will generate high levels of revenue, which means that the business will pay higher taxes, including local taxes. This money is then used for local police and fire departments as well as schools.Small businesses traditionally give back to their communities by volunteering, supporting local events, schools and little leagues. We've all felt the impact when one of our favorite small businesses had to close down due to various circumstances.We can all help keeping our local small businesses viable by shopping local whenever possible. When you shop local, the business owner is usually directly connected to every employee in the store. That leads to a personal approach that often means any problem you have is taken seriously. In my experience, having the owner nearby also means that owner personally knows his/her customers. He/she knows the products you buy or the services you request on a regular basis and can tailor services to make your experience even better. Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.

One of the priorities the City Council identified in its January Visioning Meeting was Economic Development. The Council created subcommittees each consisting of two council members and staff who are tasked with bringing recommendations to the entire council. The Economic Development Council Ad Hoc Subcommittee consists of Vice Mayor Charlie Bronitsky, Assistant City Manager Dante Hall and his team and I. The City has convened two meeting with the business community: Business Community Roundtable was held on March 15, 2016 and Small Business Breakfast held on July 13, 2016. We are diligently working on better communications and community outreach as well as developing programs that support, promote and help grow our local businesses. I'm extremely excited about discussing these programs at the Council meeting in August in preparation to adopting the Economic Strategic Plan for our great city.

Stay tuned, and as always your thoughts and comments are welcome. You can reach me at shindi@fostercity.org.

Council Corner

July 20, 2016
The Other Half of Our Community

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200