WILLIAMSON – The Williamson City Council voted to approve a motion to amend the current ordinance to allow an increase in Business and Occupation (B and O) taxes by 25 percent and to raise business licenses to $50 a year.
Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton opened the discussion stating, “The next item on the agenda is city fees for business licenses and in that group is B and O taxes and sanitation which is garbage bills. This is all under general revenue kind of discussions. The business license hasn’t been raised for a while.”
Larry Brown, Williamson City Clerk responded stating, “For the most part, they are $5 per year. There are some that are a little more if they sale alcohol. This requires some business to have it and does not require others to have it. That is something we need to look at too; it needs to include everyone.”
Carlton agreed stating, “Yes. We need an amendment to that ordinance that states that everyone that pays a B and O tax needs to have a business license. I think that the business license should be in the $75 dollar range per year.”
Councilman Matthew Newsome questioned Brown stating, “Larry, what kind of increase would it be if the license were $50 a year? By increase, I mean based on what we bring in now to what we would bring in if it was $50?”
Brown responded stating, “We bring in $2,200 to $2,500 a year currently.”
Carlton stated that if the business license were raised, the revenue would increase by 15 times that amount.
Newsome responded stating, “We are talking about raising the B and O as well, should we start at $50 and go from there?”
Carlton responded, “Sure, we can always revisit it. I don’t have a problem with that. This will have to be done by an ordinance change so we have a motion to prepare an ordinance change and it will be read three times and the usual process.” The motion to prepare the ordinance change allowing the business license to be raised from $5 to $50 was approved unanimously.
Carlton then moved to B and O taxes for the city of Williamson. Carlton stated, “Again, over the year that has not been changed very much. I would recommend to council a 25 percent increase in the B and O tax instead of it being a flat minimum. It would be a proportional distribution to all businesses.”
The motion to approve the ordinance to prepare for the B and O tax increase was approved unanimously.
The next item on the agenda concerned sanitation bills. Carlton stated, “We are trying to generate revenue from different areas. Currently, our expenditures for garbage collection are $166,000 above what was brought in by garbage fees. There is a reason we are addressing that issue…”
Carlton suggested changing the garbage collection payments from quarterly to monthly and to increase the monthly bill by six dollars. With a four dollar emergency service fee, the average monthly bill would be $30 per month. This increase would cause prices to go from $72 to $90 quarterly.
After discussion, Carlton suggested that council make a motion to approve the sanitation fee increase. “Do we have any interest in raising the garbage bill by $6 a month on all accounts? If not, we will move on.”
Council did not respond to this request and a motion was not made supporting the sanitation fee increase.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)