Ucluelet’s municipal council has pushed back its business licence deadline to score some breathing room while potential increases to the community’s business licence fees are discussed.
The district is proposing the fee increases in order to pay for increased bylaw enforcement in 2017.
Business licences are usually due on Jan. 1 but, during their Jan. 24 regular meeting, council unanimously voted to push that date back to May 1 to allow time for the new fees to be hashed out.
The change means the licence year will run from May 1, 2017, to May 1, 2018, rather than the traditional calendar year of Jan. 1-Dec. 31.
St. Jacques said the district hopes to be mailing out invoices for licences by late February.
“People will have March and April to come in and pay,” she said.
Coun. Mayco Noel liked the idea and said he had spoken to several business owners, during a Jan. 17 open house, who had suggested January is a tough time to pay for a licence because of the lack of tourist activity in town.
St. Jacques agreed and added council was considering all the input put forward at the open house.
“Definitely, we’re responding to the input that we got the other night,” she said. “Plus, the businesses basically will get four months this year for free, which given the conversation we’re having, seems like the right thing to do as well.”
Council is scheduling another public meeting to help business owners understand the fee increases and why they’re needed.
During the meeting’s open question period, the Westerly News asked if there was a timeline in place for that meeting to be scheduled.
“We haven’t set a date for the follow up meeting at this point,” St. Jacques responded. “Changing the business licence to May 1 has given a bit more time obviously. We don’t want to go back to the business folks until we are prepared with information. But, we don’t anticipate it will be too long.”
She said council planned to meet amongst themselves on Monday and would likely set a date for a public meeting at that time.