Havre City Council’s Planning and Development Committee is ready to send its new ordinance about the creation of a business license to the Ordinance Committee in the hopes of having the council vote at its Tuesday, Nov. 9, meeting.
The ordinance outlining the proposed policy was distributed with a white paper, a one-page document called “Answers Regarding a Business License for the City of Havre,” written by Planning and Development Committee Chair Janet Trethewey.
The document answers five questions about why the committee believes the city should have a business license and outlines impacts of the license on local businesses, including issues of fees and zoning.
The one-page document will eventually be available to the public at City Hall, the Havre-Hill County Library, the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce and online at the city website at www.ci.havre.mt.us.
The ordinance is now waiting to be discussed on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 5:30 p.m. by the Ordinance Committee, whose chair, Andrew Brekke, is one of the members of the Planning and Development Committee.
Brekke seemed unconvinced of the necessity of the ordinance, bringing up the difficult history of similar moves.
According to Brekke, the issue has been brought up several times, at nearly 10-year intervals.
In 2003, it was stopped before it could even get to a vote. It did get to a vote in the early 1990s, when it was rejected.
Trethewey remains hopeful that the ordinance can get through the necessary committees and council vote in time to have it take effect as close to the beginning of 2011 as possible.
One issue raised in the meeting was that of enforcement.
As is, the City Clerk’s office is responsible for conducting inspections and collecting license fees.
Brekke said that Fire Chief Dave Sheppard had expressed interest in the Havre Fire Department having these responsibilities, as they have the funding to conduct inspections and would find the resulting information much more useful.
Councilman Cal Long, not a member of the Planning and Development Committee but sitting in on the meeting, wondered if this may be an issue.
“Are we going to create a fight?” Long said. “And can we handle it in council?”
Most on the committee agreed that a simple conversation would probably be the best solution.
The issue was finally set to be discussed by the Ordinance Committee at the Oct. 26 meeting to allow another opportunity for public input before the council sees it on Nov. 9.