Salisbury business owner, Alissa Redmond, describes a disconnect for small business owners trying to obtain funding through the publicized Salisbury City Council commitment and partnership with KIVA.

I watched council member David Post’s KIVA briefing to the Salisbury City Council two weeks ago with great interest as I initiated a request for funding via KIVA just a week prior for my bookstore. My project was successfully funded through that platform, yet I was unable to receive any matching funds from the city, as I’d hoped.

I was unaware from any public-facing information that I should reach out directly to council member Post regarding the availability of city matching funds, and was deeply disappointed to realize that said matching funds — the only funds the city appears to have allocated to assist small businesses during such a pivotal moment in our economy — were not available after a year of campaign promises and mere days before I might have put them to some good use of my own.

I hope the council determines a better, more efficient way to allocate future funds as inflation continues to rise along with interest rates; I know many other businesses desperately need funds to continue operating in such an environment. I had hoped by raising the profile of KIVA via my social network the city could take quick action to do more, not less, for our small businesses, particularly after watching the county commissioners send thousands of dollars back to the federal government last year that were earmarked for small business development.

The money spent to develop KIVA and Self Help Credit Union’s administrative ties with the City of Salisbury — at least $20,000 — appear to amount to approximately 20% of the city’s entire budget for small business relief, which in my mind constitutes poor management of public funds. Regardless, with a modicum of thoughtfulness, innovation, communication and, heck, a decent webpage with a short explanation the remaining funds would be sufficient to transform multiple businesses that exist within an earshot of my own — any of which would jump at a reasonable proposal for their acquisition.

I hope this pause on council’s future action is short lived, particularly for the benefit of the other three or more local businesses who applied for KIVA funding within the last year and failed to successfully fund their proposals.

Alissa Redmond