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In split decision, Council passes business license

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

August 30, 2006

In a split decision, the Hood River City Council voted to require that businesses have a license to sell goods and services within their jurisdiction.

The elected body debated the pros and cons of the new fee before the majority decided that it should be enacted. They believed that public safety would be better protected with a central database.

And information gleaned from about 600 businesses within the city limits could be incorporated in a special packet. That documentation could make it easier for potential employers to set up shop in Hood River.

“I think it will be a lot of help to put together a packet that lists our requirements and points people in the right direction to get their questions answered,” said Bob Francis, city manager.

However, the council also agreed that businesses should be able to keep anything but basic data from being posted on the city’s Web site. Council also deemed that safety inspections of buildings should be voluntary and not required by the $50 initial fee and $20 annual renewal cost.

The decision to enact the license was not without dissent. Councilors Paul Blackburn, Laurent Picard and Ann Frodel voted against the license on the belief that a database could be created without regulatory action. Frodel said that 75 percent of cities in Oregon did not require a license, so there must be other ways to acquire pertinent facts and figures.

“This (license) would provide us with a lot of things that would be nice to have. But I’m not sure it would provide us with anything we have to have. And I’m not sure I want to charge businesses for that info,” Blackburn said.

Councilors Paul Cummings, Carrie Nelson and Martin Campos-Davis favored the license because it provided an avenue to monitor home-based businesses. Cummings said it was important to know what hazardous materials might be on site to protect neighbors. Mayor Linda Streich, the owner of Professional Business Solutions, cast the deciding vote in favor of the license because she shared that viewpoint.

“I’d pay $20 per year to be in a database because if something happened at my business such as a break-in or a fire I’d really like alternative access to contact information,” she said.

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