Strathmore business fees to be examined

·1 min read

Businesses in Strathmore could start paying different licensing fees, depending on their size or other characteristics.

A motion passed during the on Feb. 17 town council meeting directs town administration to explore whether Strathmore could adopt an approach used in other municipalities, where different license fees are charged depending on business size.

Under the town’s current business license bylaw, passed in 2010, general business licenses cost $100 for residential businesses and $200 for non-residential businesses. Under this model, a large “big box” retailer pays the same fee as a small downtown storefront.

Strathmore town Councillor Jason Montgomery said Canmore uses a tiered structure, where different businesses pay different amounts, depending on certain variables. In Canmore, license fees vary by square footage (for retail, commercial, wholesale and industrial businesses), by number of rooms (for hotels) and by seating (for restaurants), among other business-specific classes.

Chestermere also employs a tiered approach for home-based businesses. It differentiates home businesses into two classes based on whether clients or customers visit, with a major home business (where customers visit) is charged $100 annually for a business license, compared to $50 for a minor home business (where customers do not visit).

The intent of the possible change would not be to take in more revenue from business license fees overall, but rather to ease fees on smaller businesses that use less resources than larger ones, said Montgomery.

Adopting the change would make the system fairer among different sized businesses in the community, said Mayor Pat Fule.

Councillor Denise Peterson also spoke in support of the motion.

“I think our community has grown to the point that it’s time for a review of how we operate,” she said.

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times