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Braselton to crack down on business license fees
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HOSCHTON — From the restaurants and shops in City Square to the residents making and selling wares out of their homes, all businesses in Hoschton need a business license to operate in the city limits.

The payments and deadlines for renewing and applying for business licenses could be changing now that the city’s fiscal resources committee has looked at cracking down on businesses that don’t comply.

As it stands now, businesses must fill out the appropriate paperwork and every year pay a license fee based on the number of people employed there. For home businesses, owners pay $45, while other businesses pay $100 for 0-5 employees and $10 for each additional employee over five.

Those who fail to renew or send in applications for a new business by April 15 are subject to being shut down, yet those who pay late aren’t penalized for being tardy, Committee Chair Tom Walden said.

“What we found out was ... that business licenses were not delinquent until April 15, which I don’t understand. Everyone else’s that I’ve ever seen were delinquent on Jan. 1,” Walden said.

“Also, even if they are late, there’s no fee to charge them for being late. In theory, a business has until April 15 to renew its license, but even if they renew in June, they still get to renew it for the amount they’ve always had.”

The committee agreed last week that the city should start sending out the business license applications and renewal forms Nov. 1, ask businesses to send the paperwork back in by Dec. 1 and make sure license payments get to City Hall by Dec. 31.

“When they turn their paperwork in, they know (the payment) is due,” Councilwoman Theresa Kenerly said. “They can’t say, ‘Oh, I forgot.’ Once they turn the paperwork in, they know they have 30 days to pay it.”

Those who don’t get paperwork and payments in by Dec. 31 could see delinquent fees and the city could “send (its) enforcement officer down there and close them down,” Walden said.

Changes may also be made in how much business pay for licenses each year.

Mayor Bill Copenhaver proposed increasing the home business license fee to $100 for a home business and $200 for other businesses, and changing the 0-5 employee rule to 0-10 employees. The $10 fee per person would apply for each employee over 10.

The committee recommended these fee and schedule changes be made and will present them to the city council at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Hoschton City Hall.