Facing a substantial loss in funding from state sources due to population loss and the collapse of the local coal industry, members of Loyall City Council held the first reading of a business privilege license ordinance during Monday’s regular meeting.
Mayor Clarence Longworth noted the increasing number of Homestead exemptions and other property owners who may be excluded from the coming year’s tax rolls for other reasons.
In the recent past, he said, the city had been able to be much more lenient in the enforcement of this local law. But now, if he and the council were to continue to carry out their responsibilities and operate effective city services, revenue was desperately needed.
The mayor also indicated the ordinance was amended to, as much as possible, protect local businesses, contractors and citizens from transient business operators. These come from outside the area and can take away from local people needing work, he said, and then leave without ever paying required fees to the city or even finishing the work they started.
After lengthy discussion, the council chose not to include lawn work in the amended ordinance, largely because they could not find a suitable definition that would exclude charging people who may just be doing their neighbors’ yards or are kids trying to find a way to make some money.
Longworth said it was no longer possible to table the amended ordinance or delay discussion another month because it cannot take effect until the second reading is done at the December meeting and tax bills have to go out in January.
The mayor estimated effective enforcement of the ordinance will bring in around $6,000 during the year.
In addition to a list of business activities that will be required to comply with the law, several penalty fees have been added for those people who begin work in the city before obtaining a privilege license.
The ordinance requires landowners to purchase a license before any work is done. The mayor said the city will then know when a contractor is going to be doing work in the city and the city can check to make sure the contractor has also obtained a privilege license.
In other action, the council:
• Accepted the resignation of Dewayne Williams and appointed David Lewis to fill his unexpired term. Williams’ letter cited his relocation out of the city as the reason for the resignation;
• Accepted the financial reports; and
• Accepted the police and fire department reports.