City officials have floated a $150 annual fee to track company types and spot zoning code violations, but the proposal received push-back this week from some City Council members.
“This, to me, looks, smells like a business license tax,” said Councilman Rafi Manoukian at a City Hall meeting Tuesday. “If we want to help our businesses, I think we should stay out of their business.”
But City Manager Scott Ochoa said the fee wasn't a tax because the money gained would only cover the cost of processing the new fee. It would not be used to cover other city expenditures, he said.
Currently, businesses pay about $215 for a zoning-use certificate when they open. The proposal would require an annual $150 certificate.
Assistant Director of Planning Tim Foy said many new businesses may not get a zoning-use certificate, and some operate in illegal zones. An annual fee paid by all businesses would better give officials the ability to combat these issues, he said.