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McLean releases economic recovery taskforce recommendations

Tamarack Resort Q4 2020
City Council Tuesday with Margaret Carmel

Four months after Mayor Lauren McLean convened an Economic Recovery Taskforce to propose solutions to help the economy recover from the pandemic, the results are in. 

On Tuesday, the City of Boise released findings of a months-long process of discussing the unique, on-going economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report outlines how city leaders can help address some of the issues and get the economy back on track. The proposals, which are sorted into short term, mid-term and long term solutions, address public health, the needs of “vulnerable populations” and workforce development. 

Boise’s Economic Development Director Sean Keithly told city council Tuesday the goal for the task force was to convene a diverse set of viewpoints from the business community and build opportunity out of a “game-changing event.”

“We began this process with a broad brush to solicit big ideas and values from the group and work toward specific action,” he said. 

Keithly said the taskforce will continue discussions as the pandemic continues on how the city can help improve the economy in the area. 

Taskforce proposals for the community to work toward in the next three months

  • Businesses create a “health pledge” focused on reopening safely within the health district guidelines to encourage customers to return and encourage self-enforcement of social distancing and masks.
  • Allocate city COVID-19 funds to businesses to purchase personal protective equipment.
  • Actively promote reliable health information to keep business owners up to date on the pandemic.
  • Provide city funding to targeted non-profits assisting with low-income residents who are either homeless or increasingly at risk of eviction due to job losses.
  • Continue to fund temporary emergency shelter for vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness.
  • Establish an eviction prevention fund to help residents stay housed during a financial crisis.
  • Collaborate with partners, like Trailhead and Boise State University Venture College, to highlight new workforce opportunities.
  • Support and provide resources for entrepreneurship.
  • Build and maintain business advisory groups so business owners can connect on recovery needs, best practices, and training.

Taskforce proposals for the community to work toward between three and six months from now

  • Amplify health protocols developed by Central District Health.
  • Collaborate with partners to advance public health marketing campaigns.
  • Work with the business community to ensure operating protocols are appropriate and meet “mutual goals” for reopening.
  • Where appropriate, adjust regulations and permits to help businesses operate during the pandemic.
  • Work with landlords to try and limit evictions and promote housing affordability.
  • Consider judicial best practices from other areas to provide “equitable resolution for renters late rent payments.
  • Advance public-private partnerships to increase permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Use city resources to help connect business owners to assistance and resources for starting and maintaining a local business.

Taskforce proposals for the community to work toward in the next year

  • Use city-owned land to develop affordable housing.
  • Consider impacts on affordability when City Council and Mayor McLean propose property tax increases.
  • Increase housing supply overall.
  • Consider development incentives for housing affordability.
  • Use city resources to support the workforce’s need for early childhood education and childcare.
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Margaret Carmel
Margaret is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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