Business fee change OK’d

SANDPOINT A new business licensing structure approved by the City Council this month will allow more flexibility for short-term businesses.

Council members passed a licensing fee ordinance allowing businesses arriving on a temporary basis to operate using a different form of licensing from more permanent establishments. The temporary license fee will run a business owner 40 percent of the standard license, which currently costs $50. By that measure, vendors and shopkeepers arriving for festivals, fine arts fairs and other temporary situations can set up shop for $20. The temporary business license will be good for four days.

The new system requires the application to be turned in at least 10 days before the beginning of operations. As for the information required from the applicant, it will be identical to that required of those seeking a more permanent business.

As usual, the new fee provisions provide exemptions for organizations with nonprofit status and any agency of the U.S. government.

In addition, individual booth holders at a temporary flea market or bazaar-structured market will be exempt, although the operator of the market will need to pick one up.

The ordinance also provides exemptions for residents who are holding yard and garage sales, professionals like architects and lawyers with offices established elsewhere, and vendors participating in events on public property like the Sandpoint Farmers Market or the Festival at Sandpoint.

The new business licensing fees include discussions at public meetings earlier this year when the city passed a resolution in August to change its fee structure for business registration and licensing.

After a public hearing on the matter, council members decided to reduced the proposed $100 fee to $50 the first year and $25 in subsequent years.

That fee cannot be prorated should the business move or change ownership due to the significant administrative costs in updating information.

According to the ordinance, the business fee is leveled in order to help the city maintain its police, fire, environmental protection services in addition to other considerations.

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