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Enumclaw May Combine With State on Business Licenses

City Council wonders if saving city staff time would be unfriendly to business community.

The city of Enumclaw is contemplating partnering with the state to issue business licenses, but questions arose when the idea was pre-sented to the City Council this week.

Community Development Director Erika Shook said the goal is to save the city money by reducing staff time.

Shook said in an interview that the move would save 90 to 120 hours of staff time a year, "which may not sound like much but it could eliminate the need for additional staff as duties could be shuffled around, making us more efficient."

The part of the idea that council members objected to the most seemed to be that businesses located outside the city would have to get licenses for doing business within the city. Currently that is not the case.

Shook explained that by charging both it levels the playing field for businesses located in the city. In surveying other towns she said about half make businesses outside their city obtain licenses.

Another objection came when Shook told the council that all business licenses would cost $50. Currently, home businesses only pay $35. The reason for the change is state and city rules must be the same.

“That increases the cost of doing business in the city,” Councilman Michael Ennis said.

Councilman Jim Hogan said he wants to make sure citizens are pro-tected from fly-by-night operations.

Shook explained the new system would do a better job of that because the business license process includes background checks. If a business outside of the city, therefore, had to get a business license the background check would be a benefit to citizens.

“The background checks add extra protection,” she said in the inter-view.

Still another question dealt with adding more layers of government.

But Shook explained by partnering with the state it actually makes it more convenient for businesses because they only would have to go to one place instead of two to get the license. The city, however, still would make the final decision on approving a license.

Since it was a first reading no action was taken. Shook said she will reach out to businesses to get their input between now and Nov-ember, when she hopes the change is made.

Shook said the change has been studied for some time, but she’s not surprised by the reaction of the council.

“They want us to be a friendly place for business,” she said.

 

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