Fulton County businesses owners say they need financial relief

The pandemic continues to cripple many business owners who are desperate for federal rescue funds.

Many of those Fulton County business owners are wondering why commissioners delayed a vote on the agenda item for two more weeks.

"We are disappointed in the commissioners. I went over there and spoke to them and thought it was going to pass. It delays the process. It delays the timeline that we can provide the help and the relief, especially since you are being hit hard by a pandemic financially. It puts you behind the eight ball. It is not like we are a bigger company that can sustain the hit," Lemonade Events Productions owner Brando. Tonge sighed. 

"I wish they would not play politics with people's lives and understand that this is money we sent to Washington with our tax dollars," Tonge explained.

The Fulton County Commission had the item on its agenda Wednesday, but its author Commissioner Khadijah Abdur Rahman asked that it be held after Chairman Robb Pitts and Commissioner Marvin Arrington both had to leave unbeknownst to her.

The delay on the vote is curious because Republican Lee Morris is expected to support the measure. Commissioner Abdur Rahman, who is the author, asked that it be held because Chairman Pitts left the meeting after three hours to go to his daughter's graduation and Commissioner Marvin Arrington said he left to go to court.

Chairman Pitts said his daughter was graduating and getting a master’s degree, Commissioner Arrington said he is a co-sponsor and had to go to court. 

"I definitely support it but had to go to court. There were five people there. I can't imagine why anyone would not support it. There were enough people there to pass it," Commissioner Arrington explained. 

Trainer and JBT fitness manager Les Carson would like to get some of those federal dollars too. Once the pandemic hit the gym closed its doors. It has reopened, but the clients have not returned to the Buckhead gym that has been a staple in the community for more than 20 years. The losses just keep mounting.

"It's not like a couple of hundred bucks or a thousand here or there. These are big numbers. At least 50% of what we were making now is in the negative. We are thousands of dollars in the hole even with help," Carson lamented. 

Fulton County commissioners plan to vote on the measure in two weeks. One business owner said that just might be too late.

The measure also includes mortgage, rental, and utility assistance, grants to small businesses with less than 30 employees, a premium payment of up to $3,000 for all eligible county employees and jobs.

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