Hoping to generate an additional $32,000 in revenue, the Sunnyside City Council held a public hearing last night about a proposed increase in city business license fees.
Sunnyside City Manager Mark Kunkler told the council business license fees in Sunnyside have not been raised since 1985. The current system is set up on a sliding scale, depending on how many employees a business has.
The recommendation by city staff to council was to double the current fees.
One person spoke at the public hearing, concerned about late fees if a person doesn't renew their business license. Tom Paul, a contractor in the area, said he doesn't do business year round in Sunnyside and doesn't think it's fair to have to pay a late fee if he decides to do business in town later in the year.
It was explained that only permanent businesses will be affected by the late charge, which is half of the license fee.
After the public hearing, council adopted the resolution, increasing the fees.
A business that has one to five employees will now pay $50 per year for a business license. A business with six to 15 employees will pay $100 per year. A business with 16 to 50 employees will pay $150 per year. Businesses with between 51 and 100 employees will pay $200 per year and all businesses with more than 100 employees will pay $250 per year to do business in Sunnyside.
"I know it seems like a jump but it hasn't been addressed for 22 years," Councilman Bruce Epps said.
He added he didn't think the new fees were out of line with what other communities in the area are doing.
Councilwoman Theresa Hancock agreed.
"We have to have fees that covers the cost of the service," she said. "Neighboring towns are there. This brings us up to where they are."
Councilman Paul Garcia asked how to keep the fees current now that they have been raised.
Kunkler said there isn't a built-in escalator in the fee schedule and the council can look at it again in the future.