Red Deer County will begin licensing businesses.
The licences, which will be available for a one-time fee, are proposed in the county’s economic development strategy and were approved by county council on Tuesday.
Licensing will allow the county to collect better data on the businesses within the municipality, council was told.
Unlike urban municipalities, the county has not issued business licences although development permits are required before a business can begin operating.
Dave Dittrick, director of planning and development services, said a “soft launch” for the new requirement will happen in July. Businesses will have until November to comply, after which a late renewal fee of $20 kicks in.
Businesses will only have to pay a one-time registration charge for the licences, which will renew each year with no extra charge. Registration will cost a resident business $60 and $120 for a business based outside the county.
Home-based businesses face a $25 registration fee. A temporary seven-day licence is also available.
The business licence is voluntary for agriculture-related businesses.
“I like that it’s voluntary for some of our ag producers,” said Coun. Philip Massier. He said he supports the one-time fee and wants to ensure the licence does not later become seen as a revenue generator.
Before proposing the licence, the county gathered feedback from an online survey, interviews with businesses and open house last November. Most supported the proposal as long as it did not become an annual “tax.”
Another open house is set for April 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Red Deer County Centre.