An Horry County committee wants the full County Council to consider modernizing its business license ordinance without an automatic fee increase that would have followed the consumer price index.
Council is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss bringing its business license ordinance up to date. The ordinance, drafted in 1999 and revised a few times between 2000 and 2005, is intended to update the classifications for businesses, modernize the legalities in the ordinance because of changes to state and federal laws since it was drafted, and to make it a bit easier for the county to address planning, zoning, public nuisances and building code violations.
“We tried to be as thorough as we could so we could clarify everything for the public and the businesses,” said Wes Covington, deputy county attorney, at a recent administration committee meeting.
What was most notably missing from the first time Covington presented the proposed ordinance in September was an automatic increase for business license fees that County Councilman Harold Worley made clear he wouldn’t support. Worley has been a proponent of allowing council to vote for any fee increase and not just allow the fee to increase automatically.
“We really need this update,” Worley told the committee. “I would like to see if there is a rate increase, I would like to see it by resolution of the County Council.”
Councilman Marion Foxworth wanted to make sure the public had a voice in the fee increase, if it ever came up.
“Do you think if we do it by resolution, we could also include a public comment period for it?” Foxworth asked. “Because otherwise, the public would have no way to be heard.”
The ordinance will really address new businesses that weren’t licensed at the turn of the century, like vaporized cigarette shops, tattoo parlors and internet cafes. The first of three readings by the council is expected to occur Tuesday. It takes three affirmative votes before it would go into effect.
Worley said he’s glad the recommended ordinance was amended to exclude the automatic fee increase.
“It’s going to have to be done by resolution, period,” Worley said.