St. Clair City Attorney Kurt Voss said he has been down this road before.
At the request of the board of aldermen, Voss will begin the process of taking legal action against 18 businesses after he was forwarded a list naming those which have not obtained their 2014 operating licenses.
The matter came up during the board’s meeting Tuesday night in city hall.
“I’ll send them a letter,” Voss said, adding that if the letter does not produce an operating license he will begin legal proceedings.
A business license in St. Clair costs $50 a year. The deadline for businesses within the city limits to obtain their operating license was Jan. 31.
The unanimously approved motion directs Voss first to send the letter to the businesses in violation saying that if they do not obtain their license within another 30 days, legal action will be taken.
Last year, the aldermen approved an ordinance amending Chapter 13, Section 8 of the city’s code of ordinances regarding penalties for failing to purchase or renew a business license.
The amended ordinance states that “any person, company, firm or corporation or other business licensee ... which shall fail to purchase or renew a previously purchased business license on or before Jan. 31 of each year shall be subject to a penalty for late payment of said fee of 5 percent for each month or portion of a month that said license fee remains unpaid up to a maximum of 25 percent on the aggregate in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.”
The ordinance also states that any violations will be deemed a misdemeanor and upon conviction “shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10 or more than $500 in addition to any other penalties prescribed herein. Each day of failure to comply or that such violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.”
That means a business operating without a license in the city limits could be fined $500 a day until the license is obtained.
“Fifty dollars for a business license is pretty cheap,” Voss said on Tuesday night.
The business also can be ordered to cease operations “until such business obtains a license and pays all applicable delinquent fees and fines.”
As of Friday morning, there were 18 businesses still in violation. Originally, there were 24 on the list presented Tuesday night, but the number dwindled as the week progressed.
The 18 who have not acquired their 2014 business license are AFI Automotive, Custom Cellular, Domino’s Pizza, Fast Formliners Inc., Firehouse Signs & Design, Forever Photos, Franklin County Towing, the Insurance Center, Karen’s Corner Closet, Larry’s Automotive & Quick Lube, McCullough’s Cleaners, Michelle’s School of Dance, Poor Boyz Recycling, Priced Right Consignment, Rivers Edge Products, Tork Ltd., Tres Torinos Mexican Restaurant and Undercar Perfection.
A year ago, AFI Automotive, Domino’s Pizza, Firehouse Signs & Design, Karen’s Corner Closet, McCullough’s Cleaners, and River’s Edge Products were on the same initial delinquent list.
Last year at this time, 28 businesses were in noncompliance. Two years ago, the number was 64.