The third time was the charm.
After their third vote in a year and a half, McDuffie County Commissioners approved a business license program for the unincorporated areas of the county during the Aug. 2 meeting.
In March of 2005, commissioners shuttled the program citing fears of another layer of government and being required to enforce state regulations. Incidents involving unknown potentially dangerous businesses prompted the measure's opponents to change their minds.
"I think the positive far outweighs the negative," said Commission Chairman Charlie Newton. "I don't like the additional layer of government, but it helps public safety, and it helps our planning department."
According to Planning Commission Director Fred Guerrant, having businesses registered with the county will allow officials to keep a much closer eye on who moves in and how big their operations are.
"I think it's something that's almost inexcusable not to have in place," said County Manager Don Norton.
Businesses will be charged the occupation tax for their license on a sliding scale according to the number of employees.
A new employee at the Planning and Zoning Department will handle the licensing in addition to several other duties.
The ordinance goes into effect on Jan. 1. All businesses in the county but outside Dearing and Thomson will have until the end of March to register at the Planning Department during the program's first year.