Fee proposal has appeal

Published 1:05 am Friday, March 29, 2013

The proposal to revise Washington’s fee schedule for business licenses so smaller businesses pay lower fees than larger businesses with annual sales of $5 million or more deserves careful consideration by the City Council.

The proposal would result in a few huge retail stores, giant wholesalers and big service establishments in the city paying larger fees for business licenses. Basically, the proposed fee schedule, based on annual sales figures, would be more equitable.

City Manager Josh Kay unveiled the proposal at the council’s meeting Monday. The mayor and council indicated preliminary support for it, but they want some more information on it before deciding if it’s going to replace the existing fee schedule.

Currently, a retail business with $250,000 in annual sales pays $190. If the proposal were approved, that business would pay $109.50. Currently, a retail business with $35 million in annual sales pays $1,500. If the new fee schedule were implemented, it would pay $20,000, the maximum fee.

The maximum fee for a manufacturer would be $10,000.

“I think you’re going to find that when you look at the numbers, I suspect that 40 or 50 percent of the people who have privilege licenses at the present time are going to find a reduction,” Councilman Doug Mercer said.

The proposal might need more than council’s review. It could merit council’s approval.