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Debating a business license
Prineville City Council hosting a public workshop to discuss the issue
November 19, 2012
About two months ago, Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe suggested that the community would benefit from the requirement of a business license.
Next week, the Prineville City Council will hold a public workshop to discuss the possibility in more detail to decide if idea has some merit.
“As part of our efforts to ensure we are continually improving our planning process, we see a potential to improve our ability to communicate with our business community in the event of an emergency or disaster,” said Councilor Dean Noyes. “Specifically, we don’t have the ability to communicate directly with business owners, and that is a definite disadvantage when we are dealing with police, fire, or medical-related emergencies or disaster preparedness reactions.”
Noyes added that a recent issue regarding the size and location of business signs further illustrates the possible need for a business license.
“We are asking the question of whether a registration process would help our community communicate some of these standards to its businesses,” he said.
Last week, during a Council meeting, one Prineville resident raised concerns about the appearance of a particular business, again bringing the business license topic to the forefront.
“Who is responsible for allowing new businesses in Prineville?” asked Stella Oja.
Councilors proceeded to explain to her that without a business license, the City can be left unaware of who has opened businesses in town.
“I believe that the citizens of Prineville and the (Crook) County would benefit by having the City fathers and City mothers be very discerning about what comes to set up business here in Prineville,” she said.
Councilor Steve Uffelman, who has served on the Council since 1985, said the City has considered a business license in the past. They have thus far shied away from them because they do not want to stifle business development and business licenses typically come with some sort of fee.
Despite that sentiment, Uffelman sees the same benefits to them that Noyes does and could see such a business license requirement working for the City if the benefits outweigh the fees that come with it.
With the workshop, Roppe hopes to find out how Council members and Prineville citizens feel about instituting a business license.
“We know we have support from some of the people in the community,” she said, “and of course we also know that we have other people who are very concerned about it. They see it as a gateway to more taxes.”
The workshop will take place immediately prior to the City Council’s regularly-scheduled public meeting. The public is invited to attend the workshop, but the Council will not take comments at that session. However, at the regular meeting that follows, the public will be given two opportunities to provide their feedback to the Council.
Not only will the Council meet with the public to discuss business licenses, they will meet with business owners as well. The day after the workshop, Councilors will broach the topic at the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce’s annual members’ luncheon.
Joe Becker, the Chamber’s interim executive director, said they want to provide the Council and groups who are looking at business licenses an avenue to provide information to local businesses. The Chamber also wants to provide an opportunity for their board and businesses to ask questions of the Council.
“As a Chamber, as a board, our one prevailing concern is on anything that could lead to or seems to go the direction of regulation on what type of business, where the business can be, and how they can do it — outside of the realm of just making sure people are doing business legally,” Becker said.
The Prineville City Council will hold their workshop on business licenses on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m., in the Prineville City Hall Council Chambers. They will host their regular business meeting at 6:30 p.m.