Batesville proposes ordinance requiring business licenses - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Batesville proposes ordinance requiring business licenses

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BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Batesville city officials say they can better track what businesses and nonprofit organizations are in town once the city council approves a new ordinance.

The ordinance, which will be discussed at the council meeting Tuesday, would require business owners to purchase a business license each year and sign up for a public business registry.

City officials have worked on this proposal for years now. They say it has many benefits, including for the town's fire department.

The business community has grown so much in Batesville that Fire Chief Brent Gleghorn says his department has had a tough time keeping track of everyone.

"A business will pop into town. Things will go real good for them, and they'll move to a bigger facility. They've already moved before we even know they're here," Gleghorn said. "A business comes into town. Things don't go well for them or something changes – they pack up and leave. They're here and gone, and we don't even know it."

That's why he supports the proposed ordinance making its way through City Hall.

The proposal would make all businesses and nonprofits with locations in Batesville sign up for a business registry and purchase a business license annually. Churches and religious institutions are exempt unless they operate something like a daycare center, according to the proposal.

If the proposal is approved, businesses would have to disclose information, like their location and how many employees they have. That way, city officials say they could collect accurate business and employee data that "will help the City better track business growth, employment and development," according to the ordinance.

Business licensing fees range from $22 to $52 based on different filing periods. The proposed ordinance states that businesses could face fines up to $250 per day if they're caught operating without a license.

Business owners would also have to list if they have a fire suppression system and whether or not they keep explosive or flammable materials on their premises – an important piece of information for firefighters going into an unknown building to battle a blaze.

"They'll just list that they keep certain things, and we can help them secure those things to where they're safe to everybody – them, their customers and us as their protection," Chief Gleghorn said.

The Batesville City Council will review the proposal for the first time Tuesday. Council members hope to collect public opinion at that time and possibly change the ordinance before giving it their final approval.

Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, the city's code enforcement officer and the city attorney were all unavailable Monday to comment on the proposal.

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