New Haven revises business license fees

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Public hearing planned on revised property tax rates

By Lydelle Abbott

Landmark News Service

New Haven commissioners voted to amend the city’s business license ordinance.

Owners of a tattoo and piercing shop had approached the board on the subject because of the $1,000 business license fee for tattoo parlors, which they considered unfair.

A committee appointed to review the ordinance suggested at the Aug. 20 commission meeting that  rates for tattoo and body artists, body piercing, fortune telling and psychics and parapsychology practitioners be lowered from $1,000 to $75.

Commissioners Freddy Dewitt and Jerry Nevitt, who comprised the committee, also suggested the contractors license be raised from $75 to $100 and cover subcontractors working for contractors; that those renting only one apartment or house not be charged for only one unit, and those with two or three units be charged $50 and $10 for each additional rental unit; and that no license should be issued to any entity until all state and/or county regulations are met as required by law.   

Dewitt said they thought it was reasonable to lower the fee for tattoo and body piercing because of all the health regulations those businesses have to meet.

Commissioners Dewitt, John Ray Ball and Nevitt voted in favor of the changes, Bob Johnson abstained since he is the owner of rental property, and Mayor Tessie Cecil dissented.

“I just think they’re too cheap,” Cecil said of the license reduction.

Because the ordinance affects the current fiscal year, the ordinance was declared an emergency and there will be no second reading.

Business licenses must be renewed yearly in New Haven. The city does not have an occupational tax.

Commissioners also voted Aug. 20 to set a tax rate that will raise its local tax revenue for real and personal property by 4 percent. The real property rate will change from 21.6 cents per $100 to 22.6 cents per $100. Personal property rates will be reduced from 44.28 cents per $100 to 33.4 cents per hundred yet still achieve the increase in revenue. The vote was three to one with Ball dissenting on the first reading of the ordinance. A public hearing for the tax rate is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 17. In other news, New Haven commissioners were told that the city was reimbursed $4,432 from FEMA for the ice storm and received updates on the youth football field and recently completed city sidewalk project.