County officials plan to look into instituting a voluntary business license program sometime early next year.
Planning Board Director Fred Guerrant said that he has received several complaints recently from local business owners requesting licenses, only to find out that the county doesn't currently have a business license program in place.
Mr. Guerrant said there are several reasons why local businesses would prefer having a McDuffie County business license.
"Some customers are saying that it is difficult to incorporate in the state of Georgia without a business license, while others are saying that it's difficult to purchase from wholesalers without evidence of a business license," he said.
Mr. Guerrant added that some business owners have even told him that they have bought business licenses in adjacent counties, when they'd rather pay the license fee in McDuffie County.
Board Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said that he'd be in favor of setting up a voluntary program so local businesses will stay happy.
"My personal gut feeling is that it won't be a big deal to do that, especially if we can help the folks in our community that are providing jobs and contributing," he said. "It may be a little bit of a headache, but for the benefits it's something we ought to do."
Mr. Guerrant agreed with Mr. Newton, saying that the logistics of setting up a business license program can be taxing.
"Getting business licenses set up is very complicated and time consuming," he said. "You just don't jump into this thing overnight, in a week, or even in a month. It's going to take several months to set this up."
That's why officials want to start discussing the issue early in 2004.
County Manager Don Norton said there were some positives and some negatives associated with implementing a voluntary business license program.
"It's a great revenue source for the county, but there are some costs to it," he said.
Some of that cost may come from having to hire additional personnel to receive and grant business licenses. Mr. Guerrant even suggested that an option may be to set up a business license office with appropriate personnel that would work in conjunction with the Planning Commission.