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Business license ordinance shuttled

No one showed up to speak for or against it, but a Monday public hearing about the Occupation Tax Ordinance spawned a vote at Wednesday morning's County Commission Meeting.

Commissioners denied the ordinance that would have required all businesses in the unincorporated areas of McDuffie County to be licensed in order to operate. Commissioners had studied and considered the occupation tax for several months.

Commissioner Darrell Wester was the leading opponent to the measure, saying he didn't see where it would benefit the local business community.

According to Planning Commission Director Fred Guerrant, having businesses registered with the county would have allowed officials to keep a much closer eye on who moves in and how big their operation is.

"A lot of businesses in existence have expressed an interest in having this ordinance in place," County Manager Don Norton said during Monday's public hearing.

"We've also established that this would help us with our hotel/motel tax collection," Mr. Norton added.

A point of contention that arose during the preliminary talks about adopting a business license ordinance came up again during the public hearing. Commissioner Fred Favors said he was concerned that requiring a state license to obtain a county business license, as is outlined in the ordinance, would put some long-time owners out of business.

"Fred Favors is worried about that little old lady out there," Mr. Guerrant said. "I keep wanting to say, 'Fred, you know we can work something out for her. I hope we can anyway because...I do not want to encumber her from continuing with her business that she's been in for the past 30 years."

Commissioners considered a sliding occupation tax schedule in the ordinance that required payment per employee.

Businesses with up to one employee would have been taxed $50 per year. Two to five employees would have required $100; six to 10 employees was $250, and so on.

According to the ordinance, larger businesses such as those with 51 to 100 employees would have paid $650 plus $5 per employee over 50. Those with more than 100 employees would have paid $900 plus $2 per employee over 100.

Currently the City of Thomson and the Town of Dearing both require business licenses inside their city limits.



Web posted on Thursday, March 3, 2005











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