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The City regulates businesses to death
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It looks like it’s going to be another stellar year for over–regulation by our local government. For those of you in the know, last year the city wanted private businesses to charge a cover charge for entering businesses during St. Patrick’s Day and hand the money over to the City of Savannah (in the name of public safety).

Myself and my business partner, Melissa Swanson, attended these  meetings and voiced our concern and objection to such an intrusion. Thankfully, the issue was dropped, so we thought!

I don’t know how entities like the Savannah Riverfront, Savannah City Market, the Chamber of Commerce and the Parade Committee can be in a position to regulate private business the way these folks seem to be.

Oh, I remember... the City gets their pockets lined with money from these entities. The City creates ordinances to ensure these entities receive revenue out of the pockets of hard working small business owners.

It is hasn’t been a fun year, folks.  I don’t see the rest of 2010/2011 getting any better. The downward pressure that this City Council has put on local small business owners and their employees is just the opposite of good business!

Just because you don’t own a bar or a restaurant doesn’t mean these issues can’t affect you.

To my real estate agent: I might be forfeiting my $1,000 earnest money on that condo you are trying to sell me. (Yes, I am serious, David!)

To the Yamaha dealership: Sorry to take up your time, but I don’t need servicing on my Jet skis... and no, I won’t be upgrading this year!

Lawnmower man: Thanks, but I’ll do the lawn myself.

Advertisement agencies, website designers: Sorry, but I might have to go back to making in-house advertisement work for me.

The City of Savannah: Sorry I won’t be able to send you the $600 to $800 a month in liquor tax, because it will be reduced to $200 as a result of lack of sales.

Staff: I know you have families, mortgages and financial responsibilities, but not all of you can be on the schedule because, well, we just can’t afford it! This includes your Christmas bonus and health care benefits that we were just about to agree on.

I didn’t know when I opened a small business in the City of Savannah that I was going to be told that I can’t have a neon sign, but Outback Steakhouse can.

I didn’t know that live music in my business is to be silent unless you are a tenant of the City of Savannah.

I didn’t know that public safety is important unless you are a tenant of the City of Savannah. (City Market, Sand Gnats, River Street being excluded from various ordinances)

I didn’t know that after several restaurants had violations for serving alcohol to minors, it was the bar owners who got punished for it! (Meanwhile people drink in the park at Symphony and SCAD concerts.)

I didn’t know that people can’t get a job unless they pass a background check, immigration check, fingerprinted and reveal where they work.  (By the way people are still waiting to get their bar card, it’s been WEEKS).

Savannah City Council, what are you thinking? I don’t think you are!  You have no good reason for half of these ordinances, and yet you take up financial costly labor hours from city staff and business owners who “make the magic happen” for you!

City Council has stated in council meetings that they don’t even want to hear what we have to say. What kind of representation is that? It has been proven that you haven’t even taken the time to read what you pass.

I am not in line at the unemployment office nor are my employees, customers or competitors. Why are you trying to put us there?

Please discuss how you feel about these issues with friends and family and decide for this coming election year who should stay and who should go.  It’s time for social and business–minded citizens to be represented by this city!

I’m not looking for a blank check to do what I want. I’m looking for reasonable regulation that allows me to provide a revenue stream that currently provides salaries and workman’s comp for 15 employees and contributes $7,200 in liquor tax. AND I’M SMALL!

If you don’t at least voice your opinion then all we have is a remake of Kevin Bacon’s Footloose. We’re just looking for a happy ending!

Trina M. Brown

The Rail Pub