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City of Vernon sheds light on business license proposal

The City of Vernon is currently seeking public input on its business license bylaw and fee structure. - Photo submitted
The City of Vernon is currently seeking public input on its business license bylaw and fee structure.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The City of Vernon is trying to address concerns about proposed changes to business licenses, including the fee structure.

The city has already received a number of comments to date on the proposed changes such as the calculation of floor area.

"It is important to note that these calculations are based on square metres and not feet," said Tanya Laing Gahr, communications co-ordinator.

Laing Gahr goes on to say that business license fees are not a tax, but a cost recovery for services provided by the city.

"These services can include review by building, planning, fire and bylaw compliance," she said.

"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.

"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," said Laing Gahr.

"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 or $60 to $90," said Laing Gahr.

The draft bylaw and fee structure was developed by a committee with representation from the business community.

Feedback on the proposed bylaw is being received until March 14.

 

 

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