grantville to revisit business license plan

by W. Winston Skinner

Grantville City Council will be revisiting how to calculate business licenses.

For years, businesses paid a license fee based on the number of employees the firm had. The ordinance that took effect this year is based on income and requires a seven-page form be completed.

Longtime businesswoman Barbara Tucker told the council the form is onerous and invasive. “I had to go the bank and my CPA,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s business what we make,” she added.

Mayor Jim Sells sympathized with Tucker, and explained how the new process came to be. “We have to increase business fees from what we had in 2012. They were unreasonably low — but they don’t need to be unreasonably high either,” he said.

The deadline for business license fees is Jan. 31. Those not paid on time carry a 10 percent fee and then 1 percent for each month.

Councilman Johnny Cooks made a motion to waive late fees until March 31 to give the council time to rethink the business license process.

“Why can’t we have an administrative committee meeting and discuss this in committee?” Councilman Barham Lundy, chairman of the committee, suggested. The committee — Lundy, Cooks and David Riley — agreed to meet at city hall on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

“These business people need some help. They hurt us when they took our signs down,” Tucker said — referring to recent changes in the sign ordinance.

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