March 12, 2009 in Washington Voices

City may require business licenses

Cheney ordinance would help with safety, economic development
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Business owners in Cheney may have to purchase business licenses through the city if a new ordinance is passed by the City Council.

The council heard the first reading of the ordinance after a presentation by Arlene Fisher, the city administrator.

“We’re probably going to make folks a little uncomfortable with it,” Fisher said. She hoped to answer any questions at the meeting Tuesday night.

If the city adopted this plan, there would be no fee for the business licenses in 2009, but if businesses signed up this year, the fee would be $15 for 2010. In 2011, the fee will be $30.

Fisher said exempt businesses include babysitters, garage sales, sales by farmers or gardeners of their own produce, temporary craft booths, accredited public or private schools and universities, special activities for churches, fraternities, or lodges and owners of rental properties.

Businesses making less than $12,000 a year will get a reduced fee.

Fisher said the city needs to issue business licenses to allow Cheney to assist new and existing business, to educate business owners on any building, fire or zoning issues they may have, to understand the mix of businesses in Cheney, to give the economic development partners information about what businesses in Cheney, and to cross-check sales tax revenue.

Fisher said that 318 businesses outside of the city have transacted business in Cheney of $24.5 million since July 1, 2008. Some of that sales tax revenue could go to the city with business licenses.

Police Chief Jeff Sale told the council about peddlers and other salespeople who work door-to-door. With business licenses, knowing who is out there selling would be safer for everyone.

“We don’t have anything that controls that type of business that comes into Cheney,” Sale said.

Fire Chief Mike Winters said business licenses can help educate new business owners about their responsibilities regarding occupancy and fire codes.

Winters said he came from an area where there were a lot of home exterminator businesses. Many of those home owners would park their trucks and store their chemicals in their home garage.


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