City planning to charge $100 for storefront business licences

HUMBOLDT — The city is moving ahead with a plan to require storefront business to have business licences.

At its July 22 meeting, council passed a first reading of a bylaw that would charge $100 per year for the licences. In order for the bylaw to take effect, council will have to vote in favour two more times at its meeting in August.

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“The purpose of the provision is to allow the city to compile an up-to-date, comprehensive business listing for the community and region,” said the city’s report to council about the proposal. “It will also assist the city in ensuring that new businesses are following the city's rules and regulations in respect to fire, building and zoning standards.”

The listing will be available on the city’s website.

Brent Fitzpatrick, the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, said they are in favour of the proposal.

“I think it's important that all of us in this city have an idea who is operating businesses in the city,” he said.

“This is just a way to make sure that if people are looking at bringing in business to town or expanding a business, they can look on the city's website and they'll be able to see all of the businesses in that category there.”

In its feedback, the chamber’s board of directors gave two suggestions: that the city charge only $75 for the first year to soften the impact, and that the city conduct an awareness campaign to explain the rationale behind the licences and the possible benefits.

Fitzpatrick said that while there’s an extra cost for business, the benefit of having a publicly available and up-to-date listing will be worth the cost.

The city expects the new business licenses will generate $20,000 in additional revenues in 2020.

The new bylaw will also not require business licences for anybody under the age of 18.

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