Widely known for its centuries-old traditions, its progressive politics and its public sector job market, Santa Fe isn't exactly touted as a hub of private enterprise.
"I think we have so many people here working in
government that they perhaps don’t understand the private sector as well," Simon Brackley, president and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, tells SFR. "We don't do a good job of celebrating our successful entrepreneurs. We have more than our fair share of [Not-In-My-Backyarders] that don't want change."
But those who run businesses and share Brackley's concerns may be in some luck. The city announced today that it's Business Ombudsman Office is conducting a survey to learn "about ways the City of Santa Fe can best support out existing businesses and entrepreneurs" as a part of the city's business retention and expansion program.
The survey, which the city estimates will take about 20 minutes to complete, can be accessed here.
"These responses will enable us to identify ways in which we can identify programs to support Santa Fe businesses," reads a city press release.
The city also promises that all answers will be "held in strict confidence."
Brackley, for his part, says he hopes that the city widely promotes the survey and that local businesses take it seriously. He forwarded SFR a list of more than 100 recently-closed businesses as well as a list of more than two dozen "obstacles" to businesses in Santa Fe.
"I hope people participate," he says.
Brackley's list of business obstacles in Santa Fe include:
· Water rights mandates for builders/developers
· Glacial and unpredictable historic review process
· Slow permitting approval
· Limited wireless/broadband access
· Vacation rentals rules and fees
· No recruitment incentives – taxes, infrastructure
· High trash rates
· Highest GRT in state
· Mandated minimum wage – highest in nation
· Underfunded/understaffed Economic Development Dept
· Under qualified/under motivated workforce
· High crime
· Access to capital
· Parking fees and access
· Highest property taxes in NM
· Affordable housing mandates for builders
· Transportation – Richards Ave, bus schedules, limited taxis
· Restrictive signage rules
· Beer / wine licensing process
· Anti-chain store attitude
· Restrictive zoning
· Prairie dog rules
· Confusing recycling rules
· City / County relations
· Day laborers
· Aging infrastructure – water, electricity