At the State of the City event in October, Mayor Christian Price announced changes in the business license process for the City of Maricopa.
That amounts to eliminating business licensing and creating instead a business registry.
Nov. 6, staff detailed how a registry would work. The process is set to go into effect Jan. 1.
“We believe that good, business-friendly regulations, while ensuring public safety and strong customer protections, just make good business sense,” Price said.
Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said the state’s transaction privilege tax process now makes city licensing redundant. The registry, she said will allow City Hall to track the types of businesses in town.
“This is a voluntary program,” she said.
The Business Registry Program will be an online process. Instead of $50 for a business license, companies can register for $10 annually. The BRP will not eliminate the necessity of permits and zoning.
Information asked on the one-page, online Business Registry Program:
New or existing business
VA or Nonprofit
Full name of business owner/representative
Primary email address
Physical address of business
Description of business
Transaction Privilege Tax identification number
Acknowledge legal disclaimer
“The goal is to make conducting business in the City of Maricopa as easy and simple as possible,” Airheart said. “So the businesses and entrepreneurs of the community drive innovation, and we want to make sure their experience here is a positive experience.”
The current system captures “a ton of data,” she said. “It’s very deceiving but it’s multiple pages with multiple attachments, and it could be a little bit frustrating for individuals.”
The hope is that the new BRP will make the process as simple as possible for the business owner while still capturing key information for City Hall.
Price called it, “User-friendly, less expensive and much faster.”
Nonprofits and veteran-owned business are exempted from the $10 annual fee.
When questioned about the verification process for businesses claiming to be veteran-owned or nonprofit, City Manager Rick Horst said, “We’ll take them at their word… Frankly, if they’re not honest, it’s going to catch up with them sooner or later.”
In December, the City will notify active and inactive business license holders about the change. It will also be notifying chambers of commerce and business-resource groups.
“One of the biggest things we’ve heard from the local businesses is ‘Marketing, marketing, marketing. How can people find out about me?’” Airheart said. “This is going to be a great way. If we know about you, we can be a great tool to get your information out to the public because this is going to be accessible to everyone.”
While business licensing is no longer deemed necessary, it did provide information the city still needs, such as “accurate revenue projections for budget preparation,” Price said. The registry is expected to provide that kind of information.
He said the City should expect speed bumps with any new process and has asked staff to report back a year after launch to discuss what does and does not work.
This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.