Campbell River eyes business fee hike to generate revenue

An increase would directly impact roughly 2,000 businesses operating within the community

The city is considering increasing business licence fees.

The change would affect not only new, but existing businesses too.

“Council has identified an increase to business licence fees as a potential way of increasing revenue,” said Sara Brodie, the city’s land use services supervisor. “Given that these fees have not changed since 2007, there is merit in adjusting the fees to account for ongoing inflationary cost increases.”

An increase would directly impact roughly 2,000 businesses operating within the community.

The city is proposing to increase the fee to $140 per year, up from the current rate of $120 per year. The rate is the same, no matter the type of business, and the licence is valid for a one year period and renewed on an anniversary date system.

The city is struggling to balance the 2012 budget which carries a $3.6 million deficit.

A $20 increase in business licence fees would, if adopted before April, generate $290,000 in revenue for 2012 – an estimated $40,000 more than the current licence fee charge brings in.

The suggested increase amount is based on an annual inflationary increase of three per cent per year applied to the current fee.

“A more comprehensive review of the city’s business licence process and bylaw could be undertaken during 2012, however, this will require additional time for consultation and comparison with practices in other communities and it is not anticipated that recommendations would be in hand in time to effect 2012 collections,” Brodie said.

Increasing business licence fees is just one of several service cuts the city is looking at to pare down the 2012 budget.

At the city’s last financial planning meeting, on Feb. 14, council considered those options and, at a regular council meeting last week, Coun. Andy Adams requested city staff bring forward a report to show what a business licence fee increase would look like.

The increase would not impact residents or result in a change in service levels to either the business or residential sectors of the community, according to a city report to council.