Disregarding a subcommittee recommendation that angered many in the local business community last year, the City Council Monday voted to accept a grant from Los Angeles County to fund an economic plan for Malibu. The $24,000 grant will pay for a consultant to study the community’s unmet needs for goods and services, and to suggest a blueprint for improving the city’s revenue base.
Last year, the Business and Finance Subcommittee, comprised of Mayor Walt Keller and Councilwoman Joan House, turned down the grant largely because, they said, it would diminish financial support from the county for other local programs.
At Monday’s meeting, House said she now felt comfortable with the county’s one-time expenditure geared toward local businesses.
“I looked at the whole issue of what the business community means to the budget and to our community in general,” she said. “And I think this is one act that we can do which would strengthen our overall position.”
Keller, the grant’s lone opponent, said he was disappointed that the business community did not raise the funds itself to pay for the study, as the Business Roundtable had originally proposed two years ago.
“It is not a free ride for the rest of the community,” he said. “It’s only for the Business Roundtable.”
In response, Councilman Harry Barovsky said he was not surprised local businesses were not able to raise the money independently. “[They’ve] been struck by almost every plague in the Bible.”