Gary wants to update business license renewals
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent September 8, 2012 6:38PM
To view the city of Gary’s business license ordinance, log on to http://search.municode.com/html/14312/level3/PTIGEOR_CH10BU_ARTIILI.html . To view the licensing fees for each business, go to http://search.municode.com/html/14312/level2/PTIGEOR_CH20FE.html#PTIGEOR_CH20FE, under Section (h).
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:10AM
GARY — The majority of the city’s 1,475 businesses are licensed despite a system that has everyone renew at one time.
That system will be overhauled, said Zoning Director Joe Van Dyk, but it’s taking some time to determine a system that best makes sense. Currently, standard business licenses are renewed yearly only in January or February, regardless of when the license was granted in the first place.
“Say a business opens in November — they have to renew it in January already because the system is structured for a January-February renewal time,” he said. “It’s inconvenient for businesses, so we want to be thoughtful going forward.”
Van Dyk said he envisions the system going to a yearly automatic renewal from the time the business license was issued.
Businesses have different fee structures in the ordinance, but generally, a business license costs $30 per year, according to the ordinance. For those who don’t renew by Feb. 28 in a given year, the penalty is $5, $10 for those who don’t renew by March 31 and $15 after March 31.
Those aren’t the only fees that can be assessed, however, said Corporate Counsel Niquelle Allen. The city’s Code Enforcement Department has officers who patrol businesses to make sure the licenses are current and displayed in a visible place; if a business is cited, it can be subject to court costs.
Business owners generally don’t allow license lapses to progress that far, according to Van Dyk, and as such businesses licenses don’t generate significant revenue for the city.