The "Mom and Pop" GRANT program (translate free money for my for friends and family) is one of the biggest rip offs of tax payers money by the county and that is saying something.
These GRANTS have historically been given to companies that are no longer in existence ... Or to professional services. They are clearly a form of political patronage. I did cross check grant recipients with the campaign contributors of commissioners and found no link but I did a spot check. That is why I asked for an audit.
The bulk of these GRANTs have been used to pay for the salaries of recipients or their family and friends. They have also been used to purchase equipment. Usually computers which remain in possession of grantee when they go out of business. there have been no comprehensive analysis of jobs created. That is why I called for an audit. They should go back to when program began and determine how many are still in operation, who received the grants and what was the money used for. What has been the return on investment to the tax payer in the form of incremental taxes? And who are the folks getting these grants and upon what basis are the grants awarded. Why does criteria differ from district to district?
If the county was serious a about helping legitimate small business while protecting the tax payer these Grants should be converted to a revolving loan fund -- loans at below market rate, or as a loan guarantee for SBA loans or bank loans. A report should be filed and made public for every business going forward three years.
As structured this is just another rip off for tax payers to fund commissioners political patronage pure and simple. Divert this money to libraries!!
I got this comment on my last post (comments can or cannot be accurate, but I thought this one was at least interesting):
I applied for a grant in Bruno's district. Everyone that showed up got a $1,000.00. You were supposed to speak to a committee to prove why needed the money. The process was a joke!! They didn't care what you said. But you did have to go to a meeting that showed you fill out a simple form. They didn't care about your business needs! I didn't collect my 1000.As I found, a few Broward companies got a grant, and I did not do a thorough search. We need an audit or we should drop the program.