Every business in the city of St. Clair now has obtained its 2012 operating license after AFI Muffler paid its $50 fee earlier this week.

City Administrator Rick Childers told The Missourian this week that the license to AFI, 342 S. Commercial Ave., has been issued. Collector Lynne Huff confirmed that there are no remaining businesses in the city operating without a license.

“This is the earliest we’ve had everyone paid,” she said. “I guess paying attention to this sooner has helped.”

Childers made it a point to tell the city’s aldermen in early February that at that time there were 64 businesses in St. Clair that had not paid for their operating license by the Jan. 31 deadline. The board directed City Attorney Kurt Voss to send a letter to business owners who were in violation that they had 30 days to pay the fee or face possible legal action

Huff said since the original list of 64 businesses was provided to the aldermen during their Feb. 6 meeting and a story about the situation was published in the St. Clair Missourian, 28 individuals took care of their delinquent licenses before Voss’ letter was sent on Feb. 20.

That meant the letter was sent to 36 business owners who still had not paid their fee. Thirty-five of those businesses paid by about the end of March, and AFI officially closed the books on the matter this week.

Childers initiated compiling the 2012 list in early February after several businesses were not in compliance as late as early summer a year ago. At that time, he said he believed if no action was taken shortly after the Jan. 31 deadline and if the city waited until later like it had previously, “we’ll continue to have about the same list.”

Childers told the aldermen he did not want to be as lenient this year in regards to the grace period for business owners who are delinquent in obtaining their annual operating licenses.

In May 2011, Childers told the aldermen that 15 businesses in the city at that time were delinquent in renewing their business licenses for the year. He said if those businesses were not in compliance by the end of that month, legal action could be pursued.

No action had to be taken, however, after Voss sent a similar letter at that time to what was sent this February.