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City Council offers plans to help small biz after Sandy

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Karen Frantz

Some Queens small businesses still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy may receive some help in the form of waived fees and insurance seminars, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) announced Monday.

“Helping small businesses reopen after Hurricane Sandy is a win for small business owners and the economy,” Quinn said.

“These small businesses form the backbone of our communities, so the sooner we get them back to work, the sooner the city can fully recover from the impact of Sandy and continue to build our economy,” she said.

She made the announcement alongside city Department of Small Business Services officials and several Council members, including Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), in conjunction with a hearing examining the city’s efforts to aid small businesses recovery after the superstorm.

Under legislation pending in the Council, small businesses trying to reopen after Sandy would not have to pay fees related to repairs or reconstruction. Businesses that already paid such fees would also be eligible for refunds.

The waivers would apply to businesses that were already open and operating when the storm hit and are located in Evacuation Zones A and B, in a Business Recovery Zone or in a building inspected for structural damage by the city Department of Buildings.

The legislation is intended to codify an executive order Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued Friday.

The Council, Small Business Services and the state Department of Financial Services will also co-host insurance seminars in every Business Recovery Zone in the city, including Howard Beach and the Rockaways.

Ulrich, whose district was particularly hard hit by the storm, hailed the initiatives.

“Hurricane Sandy had a devastating physical and financial impact on the small businesses in my district,” he said. “In fact, many have not fully recovered and others are struggling to keep their doors open. I believe this is an important step that will play a critical role in the revitalization of the Rockaways, Broad Channel and Howard Beach.”

Quinn also announced that Citi Community Development provided $150,000 for another round of print and subway ads featuring business owners who have reopened their shops after the storm. The advertising campaign, known as Support NYC Small Business, is intended to encourage shoppers to patronize businesses that were damaged by Sandy.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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