ROSEBORO — Town personnel say keeping track of new and existing businesses would be a lot easier if the town was able to implement a business registration program.
Town Clerk Tony Blalock proposed the idea during a meeting earlier this month, following initial conversation about the program during the budget process. According to Blalock, implementing the program would allow for a vital link between towns and businesses to exist.
“Since the General Assembly took away the town’s ability to license our local businesses, a registration program would allow town staff to adequately track our business customers,” Blalock stated. “In addition to costing us good a bit of money, it also created a separation between the town and our business customers.”
According to Blalock, businesses continue to come into town hall in order to reactivate the business privilege licenses, and the town has been left with the responsibility of informing the business owners that the General Assembly took that ability away.
“A number of towns have activated a business registration program, which is allowable under the general statutes,” Blalock said. “Especially with the upcoming fire inspection program, we really don’t have a good handle on all our businesses in town. I think a business registration fee, with a nominal amount attached to it, would help us keep an adhesive list of what our businesses are.”
Unless a business comes into the town hall to activate a water and sewer account, Blalock said there is no definite way for the town to keep accurate record of the businesses that exist in town.
Blalock, who said he wasn’t seeking action from the commissioners at that time, brought the proposal to the attention of the board hoping its members would see the need for the link between the businesses and the town and advocated for the program, calling it a valuable tool for the town’s staff. Additionally, Blalock said he wasn’t proposing a fee be attached to registration.
“Should a business change owners or responsible management, at this time, there is no requirement for the business to advise the town or register with us,” Blalock said. “A business registration program would provide that vital link for us.”
Since the General Assembly made the change and took away the town’s ability to license local businesses, the City of Clinton has discussed implementing a similar plan, likewise, the county has considered the same action. According to Mary Rose both the city and the county are looking into the idea, following the state’s change in statute.
“Once our ability to require privilege licenses was taken away by the state, we have not gotten business registration up and going yet,” Rose stated. “There has been some discussion.”
Roseboro has discussed a yearly $20 fee to accompany the registration process, but not without hesitation from commissioners.
“It’s not the monetary factor, it’s that we keep piling it on,” commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said. “I don’t have a problem with the registration process, but every time you turn around, it’s $20 here and $50 there.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.