Last Friday, local business and community leaders tuned-in for the 2020 United State of the City Business Forum with Mayor Ron Nirenberg. Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg has pivoted from economic development to being a champion for the health and safety of all San Antonians. During this virtual event, he provided brief remarks and answered questions directly from viewers.
Mayor Nirenberg indicated that is top priority has been and will continue to be the health of San Antonians, and he has balanced the health of individuals and the economy when making decisions. “A healthful and sustained economic recovery depends on decisions we make as people and businesses” Nirenberg said. He encouraged business owners to visit the Greater Safer Together SA website and take The Greater. SAfer. Together. Pledge. Taking this pledge will build consumer confidence and demonstrate that San Antonio can open safely.
One of the main topics of discussion was the economic recovery and steps the City and business community are taking to stimulate the economy. Nirenberg touted the City’s Recovery and Resiliency plan, which allocated $38 million in direct financial assistance to small businesses and $80 million to workforce development. President and CEO Richard Perez announced that the Chamber has worked with Alamo Colleges, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and SA Works to develop a short survey to help get people trained for jobs in the emerging industries.
Nirenberg also identified provisions he would like to see in the next Coronavirus Relief Package, which include additional support for small and micro businesses, direct financial relief to state and local governments to address revenue shortfalls, and funding for transit. The City is facing a $200 million shortfall this fiscal year but by law is required to have a balanced budget.
The pandemic has exposed some serious business and economic challenges. Nirenberg said, going forward, City Council will use the Recovery and Resiliency Plan as the foundation for developing the FY21 budget. Nirenberg said his focus will be delivering city services and restarting the economy in an equitable manner.
Nirenberg also answered questions about putting ConnectSA on hold, closing the digital divide, kickstarting the hospitality and tourism industry, and improving police-community relations in San Antonio. Nirenberg wants to focus on reforming provisions in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will help our chief of police hold police officers accountable.