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Candidate Q&A: Rowena Smith, Elko City Council

Candidate Q&A: Rowena Smith, Elko City Council

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How successful do you think the city’s downtown revitalization matching grant program has been, and what changes would you like to see in the downtown environment over the next four years?

I believe the downtown revitalization matching grant program served many business owners well. This program was a good incentive for business owners to improve their building structures which led to a more beautiful look downtown. One perfect example is the Dalling Hall-which its owner Jeff Dalling, efficiently used that grant money to beautifully remodel a historical building for the community to use.

I hope to see downtown Elko have many more custom shops and another small park with a gazebo and water fountain for shoppers and their families to enjoy, as a lovely gathering place. This will add to the appeal for downtown business owners.

Would you consider giving tax breaks to large businesses to encourage them to locate in our community?

I would consider giving tax breaks to large businesses as well as our small business owners, to encourage them to locate and stay in Elko.

Do you approve of closing or penalizing businesses for noncompliance with state COVID-19 mandates, and what changes would you make in local handling of the pandemic?

The changes that I would make in a local pandemic will all depend on the governor’s mandate. I worked in the ER and ICU in many Vegas hospitals. During the 2003 SARS and 2009 H1N1 viral pandemic, not one business was closed. All the casinos, restaurants, stores, etc. were open. No quarantine was forced even with the high number of deaths.The economy continued to flourish. The Nations morale was unaffected. The viruses disappeared and restoration was quick. I do not and will never approve of penalizing a business for non compliance, on a mandate forced upon by this governor. I do approve educating on prevention of the spread of viruses- to business owners and their employees with a possible task force to monitor compliance.

The City of Elko is spending $30,000 in advertising to help promote local businesses since the lockdown. What other measures can be taken to help struggling small businesses?

The only way a small business can survive this particular pandemic is to have an ample amount of financial reserve and-or collateral. Having owned and invested in a Greek restaurant and retirement homes provided me with the business acumen to ensure our economic viability. If I was a City Council member, I would collaborate with our mayor and other council members to be benevolent with the CARES ACT money to those surviving small businesses who presented a sound business proposal for that funding.

Let me add this: I implore Elko citizens and its leaders to please be kind and generous to one another during this crisis. We cannot survive solely on our own devices. GOD will see us through this if we humble ourselves and stay unified as a community.

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