Councilmember Roger Berliner Seeks Relief For Montgomery County’s Small Businesses
Following Meeting of Business Leaders, Ideas Emerge to Invest With Local Banks Who Could Directly Help Small Businesses Survive Impact of Economic Downturn
ROCKVILLE, Md., April 6, 2009—Following a meeting he convened of Montgomery County economic development leaders in an attempt to find relief for the County’s small businesses, County Council Vice President Roger Berliner (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac) has taken suggestions to the County’s Executive Branch to deposit County money in local banks, who in turn would use the increased liquidity to help small businesses suffering due to the region’s economic downturn.
On March 26, Councilmember Berliner assembled a meeting that included Council President Phil Andrews, Councilmember Marc Elrich, representatives of the offices of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, two Chambers of Commerce, the Office of the County Executive, the County’s Department of Economic Development, the City of Rockville, local banks and other business leaders.
“We had important input from the private sector entrepreneurs who are dealing with the economic downturn directly, the chambers of commerce who represent members who are in various levels of difficulty and representatives from many governmental levels for whom it was good to hear their perspectives,” said Council Vice President Berliner. “The idea advanced that created the most interest was the depositing of County funds in local banks in exchange for agreements to use the increased liquidity to make loans to our struggling small businesses.”
Councilmember Berliner said that the meeting demonstrated a common desire to take steps to help struggling local businesses. It also showed that those steps need to be taken quickly—before it is too late for some businesses.
“I look forward to quickly hearing back from the County Executive’s representatives in the future to learn their views of the merits and issues raised by this approach,” said Councilmember Berliner.
Councilmember Berliner convened the meeting in response to the increasing number of empty store fronts and retail holes in strip centers and malls that are appearing around Montgomery County.”
“I believe that the meeting was productive both in terms of understanding the depth of the issues confronting our small business community, and the possible path forward that could lead to some relief,” Councilmember Berliner said. “My goals were to determine the extent of the problem, develop a list of possible solutions and funding sources—and do it all without creating a new bureaucracy.”
For more information, contact Councilmember Berliner’s office at 240-777-7828.