The Harrodsburg City Commission voted unanimously to increase the city’s occupational license fee and clarified how the city intends to maintain neglected properties.
At their most recent meeting, the commission gave first reading to ordinance 2021-23, which amends the occupational license fee the city charges every person and business entity engaged in any trade, occupation, profession or other activity for profit. It is the first time there has been any change to the fee since 2008.
On Monday, they voted to implement a three tier structure, charging $100 for businesses with up to five employees, $300 for businesses with 6 to 20 employees and $1,500 for businesses employing 21 or more. The fee has been $25.
In addition to changing the license fee rate structure, the amended ordinance will create an enforcement procedure, allowing the code enforcement officer and the city police to issue citations for violators. Even then, officials stressed taxpayers would be on the honor system. It’s up to the businesses to report how many people they employ.
City Attorney Norrie Currens said the city bears the cost of events which enrich small businesses like food trucks, including sanitation and security.
“People are asking us to shut down the streets,” Currens said. She said the changes are based on Lawrenceburg’s fee rate, which is available online.
“People aren’t even paying the $25 right now,” said Commissioner Jennifer Kazimer. “I feel like it’s too big a jump.”
“To me, that’s just ridiculous,” said Commissioner Adam Johnson. “We never increase anything.”
Johnson noted the fee, which is due on or before Jan. 1, is good for the whole year.
“You’re covered for a year,” he said. “If your business isn’t making a hundred dollars a year, you don’t need to be in business.”
After some more debate, Johnson suggested the new rate structure, which the rest of the commission unanimously approved. It will be given second reading at their next meeting, on Monday, Nov. 8, at noon.
The commission also approved a new price scale for properties that are cut, cleaned and brought up to code by the city.
The city would charge property owners $35 per hour for each city employee who worked on a property, $25 an hour for each mower, $15 an hour for each chain saw and weed eater, $75 per hour for use of a tractor and bush hog and $35 an hour for the code enforcement officer and superior officers at the Harrodsburg Police Department to write up and review each lien. There would be a one hour minimum for all services, and if the job runs over one hour, the fees would be rounded up to the next hour. The new fees would cover fuel.