Business license fees to increase |

Business license fees to increase

Gina Barker, The Park Record

Summit County businesses can expect a bump in licensing taxes. In last week’s County Council Meeting, the board unanimously passed an amendment to the current code, increasing the annual in-home business license fees from $67.36 to $75 and commercial businesses from $175.44 to an even $200.

Summit County clerk, Kent Jones, said the increase was the first in the county since 2004 and would go to support an online licensing system the county hopes to debut starting next year.

"We felt a modest raise was adequate to cover our costs," Jones said. "We’re pretty reasonable on the costs for business licenses."

The new system would allow any Summit County business to apply and renew licenses as well as pay any license fees online.

Jones said the county will send out renewal letters in December, but starting with the New Year the county hopes to go paperless.

In addition to an increase in business license fees, county council members also discussed special events fees and nightly condo, home and apartment rental licensing.

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The board amended the business licensing code to give small-scale special events more reasonable fees. The amendment was aimed at local events such as a farmer’s market that may have only a handful of vendors participating. The code was written so that any event could ask the sponsor to pay a licensing fee of $2,500 and divide that cost among vendors. The board changed the code so that events with five or fewer vendors would pay a fee of $500 and an event with six to 20 vendors would pay $1,000.

"We just didn’t have anything for a smaller event-sized category," Jones said, "but this should cover different types of events in a better way."

Changes to the code for nightly condo, home or apartment rentals were denied by board members, who Jones said were concerned with lost revenue. The county suggested a similar tier system for rental properties so that those renting a certain amount of properties would be pooled into pay scale rather than the current system of paying for each individual property.

"They were afraid of losing too much revenue if property licensing fees were lumped together," Jones said. "It would be the same price for someone managing 20 properties as it would be for 35 properties, so they said ‘let’s just leave it the way it is.’"