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Vernon explains proposed business license changes

Daycares, multi-unit rentals and some large automotive repair and retail businesses will take the biggest hit with proposed new license fees in Vernon.

The City of Vernon is currently reviewing its business license bylaw and fee structure and is looking for input on the proposed changes.

The City has already received a number of comments to date on the proposed changes. One common issue has been the calculation of floor area.

“It is important to note that these calculations are based on square metres and not feet,” the city states in a release.

Business license fees are not a tax, but a cost recovery for services provided by the city. These services can include, but are not limited to, review by building, planning, fire and bylaw compliance.

Because there is more work required with the issuance of a new license, the fees for license renewals are generally lower. Reviews of larger businesses can also be more complex, which is why the proposed fee structure also includes the area of the business in the fee calculation.

The current fee structure ranges from $40 to $2,000, depending on the classification of the business. Under the proposed fee structure, some license fees would stay the same (for example, graphic design, computer repair, photography, bookkeepers, home care or sales) and counsellors, accountants, nurses, engineers and lawyers  that operate a home-based business would see a decrease in their license fee by $25.

Some fee increases may be fairly large under the proposed fee structure, based on the size of the building, as depicted on the PowerPoint presentation which can be viewed at www.vernon.ca.  There are some large automotive repair and retail businesses that are currently paying $140 to $200 annually that could increase to $350 with the proposed bylaw, based on the size of their building. However, most resident businesses would see an increase of between $15 and $50 – or stay the same.

One of the largest increases to a business would be room rentals for three to four units as the current bylaw is a $40 base fee (up to four units) and the proposed bylaw would be $115 for up to 25 rental units. So, a three or four-unit complex that is currently paying $40 would pay $115 with the proposed bylaw. Daycares would also increase from the current $50/$60 to $90.

The draft bylaw and fee structure was developed by a committee with representation from the business community. Information about the review was included in the annual license renewals that were mailed in December 2013.

If you have any questions or comments,  email tmuska@vernon.ca or call 250-550-3634. Comments can be directed to council’s attention before March 14 via email or by mailing Business Licensing, 3001 32 Ave., Vernon, B.C., V1T 2L8.

 

 

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