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LOS ANGELES-The City Council here has begun working on a plan to provide businesses at Los Angeles International Airport with continued financial help in 2002, perhaps by extending a rent-rollback program that was set to expire on Dec. 31.

By an 11-to-1 vote, the council agreed to ask the Board of Airport Commissioners to determine how best to help stores, restaurants and other retailers at LAX cope with a sharp slowdown related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast. Councilman Nate Holden cast the lone dissenting vote, saying public funds shouldn’t be used to bail out failing businesses.

Some LAX business owners say their receipts are down by more than 50% because fewer airline passengers means fewer people to make purchases at airport gift shops, dine at its restaurants, or drink at its bars. Compounding problems, new security measures enacted since Sept. 11 prevent non-ticketed people from entering the areas where most of the businesses are located.

Earlier this month, the city agency that runs the airport approved a $9.5-million package of rent concessions that allows LAX businesses to skip their required minimum monthly rent payments and instead base their rent strictly on their actual sales. The program, which is retroactive to Oct. 1, is set to expire at the end of this month.

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