The city of Agoura Hills is considering hiring a public relations firm to help counter perceptions that it is unfriendly to business.
The plan includes creation of a brochure stressing the "positive aspects of doing business with the city," said City Councilman Ed Corridori, chairman of the city's economic development committee.
The city has interviewed representatives of two public relations firms so far, he said. Costs could range from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on the elaborateness of the publicity campaign.
The move comes as the city struggles to overcome an anti-business image. Critics say the city missed a golden opportunity when Price/Costco, which spent months applying for permits to locate an outlet in the city, gave up and applied to Westlake Village instead.
Most recently, the city ordered Carl's Jr. to close its children's play area after the city learned the restaurant had remodeled it without permits. And in an ongoing dispute, 12 businesses are waging a legal battle against the city to win the right to post freeway signs, which the city outlawed in 1985.
John Hood, who is on the board of directors of the Agoura Chamber of Commerce, praised the plan to aggressively market the city. But he also urged the city to streamline the application process.
Barbara Murphy, an outspoken critic of the City Council, scoffed at the plan to hire a public relations firm. "I think they should just get a new City Council," said Murphy, who is leading an effort to recall the City Council over a new utility tax.