BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Batesville city officials say theycan better track what businesses and nonprofit organizations are in town oncethe city council approves a new ordinance.
The ordinance, which will be discussed at the councilmeeting Tuesday, would require business owners to purchase a business licenseeach 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 FireChief Brent Gleghorn says his department has had a tough time keeping track ofeveryone.
"A business will pop into town. Things will go real good forthem, and they'll move to a bigger facility. They've already moved before weeven know they're here," Gleghorn said. "A business comes into town. Things don'tgo well for them or something changes – they pack up and leave. They're hereand gone, and we don't even know it."
That's why he supports the proposed ordinance making its waythrough City Hall.
The proposal would make all businesses and nonprofits withlocations in Batesville sign up for a business registry and purchase a businesslicense annually. Churches and religious institutions are exempt unless theyoperate something like a daycare center, according to the proposal.
If the proposal is approved, businesses would have todisclose information, like their location and how many employees they have. Thatway, city officials say they could collect accurate business and employee datathat "will help the City better track business growth, employment anddevelopment," according to the ordinance.
Business licensing fees range from $22 to $52 based ondifferent filing periods. The proposed ordinance states that businesses couldface 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 firesuppression system and whether or not they keep explosive or flammablematerials on their premises – an important piece of information forfirefighters going into an unknown building to battle a blaze.
"They'll just list that they keep certain things, and we canhelp them secure those things to where they're safe to everybody – them, theircustomers and us as their protection," Chief Gleghorn said.
The Batesville City Council will review the proposal for thefirst time Tuesday. Council members hope to collect public opinion at that timeand possibly change the ordinance before giving it their final approval.
Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, the city's code enforcement officerand the city attorney were all unavailable Monday to comment on the proposal.