Business license fees help promote DeSoto
It's time for DeSoto business owners to renew their business licenses. Actually, it's past time.
The DeSoto City Council initiated a business license fee in October 1999. An ordinance passed by the council requires all local business owners to purchase a license by Jan. 15 of each year. Home businesses are included in the ordinance.
According to City Clerk Lana McPherson, the only businesses exempt from the ordinance are not-for-profit businesses, such as charitable or educational organizations.
A license can be purchased for $10 a year. The city has reserved the right, however, to charge a late fee of $10 to $100 a day, every day after Jan. 15.
Because the practice was new last year, McPherson said, the city has been lenient. This year, however, the response from business owners has been tepid and the council may consider enforcing the penalties.
According to city records, only about one-third of the 115 business owners who purchased licenses last year have renewed for 2001. Additionally, the city estimates there are several home-based businesses in violation of the ordinance.
Money raised from the fees is used to promote the city and its businesses, McPherson explained. It is used to get DeSoto's name into tourism brochures and to attract potential customers and more tax dollars to town.
We encourage DeSoto business owners to stop by city hall, fill out an application and pay the $10 fee. The fee is nominal compared to most cities and all business owners will benefit from the added exposure.
Registering your business with the city also gives city employees a better idea of what services are available in DeSoto. McPherson said the city often receives phone calls from people looking for specific services. Most of the calls are referred to the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce. McPherson said, if city employees had an updated list of businesses, they and the chamber could make the referrals.
If you own a business and have not purchased a 2001 license, now is the time to do so. The council will take up the issue of late fees in coming weeks. Those who wait could end up paying much more in the long run.