|August 21, 2011 -
POULSBO — Business owners should expect to see a letter in their mailboxes by October detailing changes to the city's business license renewal process.
Instead of going through the city, business owners will be required to renew licenses through the state-run Business Licensing Service, which allows for the simultaneous application or renewal of state and city business licenses.
This will bump up the renewal deadline by a month. Instead of having payments in by January, like the city requires, business owners will be asked in November to have their payments in by Dec. 31, City Clerk Jill Boltz said.
The city is implementing the new system to save on administrative costs, but business owners also will benefit because they can renew state and city licenses at the same time through the same system, Boltz said. Using this new system will not take away the city's ability to manage licenses, she said.
"We would retain the same approval rights that we have now," Boltz said. "So when a new business signs up through the Department of Revenue it would send us a report and it would be routed through all of the departments it currently goes through."
The City Council voted Wednesday to go forward with the partnership to begin implementing the new system. That includes giving the state access to the city's licensing database.
The city's licensing fees are also changing under the new agreement. Business owners pay $75 for a new business license and $50 to renew their license annually. The new fee will be $65 for a renewal or new license.
The City Council's finance and administration committee previously discussed setting aside $5 from each license to help fund the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. Mayor Becky Erickson and Councilman Ed Stern backed the idea, saying businesses should help support the agency focused on growing Kitsap's economy.
Erickson proposed the $5 fee in November after it was clear KEDA wasn't going to be given as much funding from the state, Kitsap County and the four cities because of budget constraints. State funding accounts for one-third of the agency's budget. Another third comes from the private sector and money earned from KEDA-hosted events. The remainder comes from the county, Kitsap's four cities and other entities like the ports of Bremerton, Silverdale and Kingston.
Since proposing the $5 fee, the city learned it needed to be careful how it identified the new funding source for KEDA, Erickson said. Instead of identifying a set amount that will be set aside for KEDA, the city will look at the total number of license fees processed and determine how much should be given to KEDA, she said.
Erickson guessed the amount would be similar to a previous estimation of roughly $7,000 a year.
In the coming months, the council will update city code to reflect the new partnership with the state and the change in license fees.
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