The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Wood
The Times 

Waitsburg Suspends Fee for New Businesses

Waiver is a good faith gesture to welcome businesses to Waitsburg

 


WAITSBURG – The cost of starting a neåw business in Waitsburg just got a little bit cheaper – at least for the next year. At their Feb. 7 meeting, the Waitsburg City Council voted unanimously to waive the requirement for new businesses to pay a $50 registration fee.

The suspension is good for one year – through Feb. 6, 2018 – as a good faith gesture to encourage business owners to do business in the city. An extension of the waiver is not anticipated unless the suspension “is wildly successful,” City Manager Randy Hinchliffe said.

A business is considered “new” to the city if it has not operated within the city in the 12 months prior to the suspension. Businesses must still register with the city and will still pay the annual $20 renewal fee.

The waiver was originally proposed by council member Karen Gregutt.

“This truly is just a little gesture. It’s not meant to be more than that and to draw attention to Waitsburg. It’s not changing anything else,” Gregutt said.

Gregutt said she hopes information about the fee suspension will be included in Waitsburg Commercial Club pamphlets and brochures that promote the city as a place to do business.

“I just want to throw a little tension on the back of what’s been going on in Walla Walla, which has not been as positive in its gesturing,” Gregutt added.

In December, Walla Walla’s city council voted that city businesses that make more than $5,000 annually, must be licensed and pay annual renewal fees of $50 starting in 2018. Licensing will be administered by the Department of Revenue, which will charge an additional $19 for an application and $11 for a renewal.

The new fees were strongly opposed by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce. Previously, Walla Walla businesses were required to register with a one-time $45 fee and no renewal.

Walla Walla estimates the annual $50 fee will add $175,000 in revenue to the city’s budget. Based on past numbers, Hinchliffe estimates that suspending the new business license fee in Waitsburg will result in a loss of only a few hundred dollars in revenue for the city.

 

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