Camas mulling business license

City council set to hold public hearing on issue during June 3 meeting

The Camas City Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, June 3, at Camas City Hall to discuss a proposed city of Camas business license.

Camas is the only city in Clark County without a required business license.

If approved, the new ordinance would require any business with annual gross income of more than $2,000 to pay $10 annually for a city of Camas business license. Nonprofits and businesses earning less than $2,000 a year would be exempt from the requirement.

Camas’ finance director, Cathy Huber Nickerson, told city councilors in early April the intention of the proposed business license is not to impose another tax on local business owners, but rather to give the city a way to link into a state database and gain information about who is doing business in the city limits — and how to contact the business owners.

“We don’t want to burden our business community,” Huber Nickerson said at an April 1 city council workshop. “This would allow us to get information as to who is legally operating a business within the city and get information on sales taxes.”

Business owners in Camas already must register with the state of Washington and pay a state business license fee. They could access and pay their city of Camas business license fee at the same time, and on the same website.

“They would be using the same system at the same time. It’s very easy,” Camas City Administrator Pete Capell told the city council on April 1. “There would be no extra work for business owners.”

There would be no charge to the city for using the state system, Huber Nickerson added, and the $10 annual fee would come to the city of Camas.

“It’s a win-win for us,” Huber Nickerson said in April.

The city councilors have tweaked the proposed ordinance language to make the penalty for failing to obtain a Camas business license a civil, instead of criminal, offense — and one that would be punishable by a maximum fine of $500, if the ordinance is approved as written.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the business license at the city council’s regular meeting on June 3. For more information about the proposed business license and to access video and documents related to the proposed license and fees, visit cityofcamas.us/yourgovernment/minuteagen davideo and click on “meeting details” under the May 6 city council workshop, then click on “REP 19-201” on the left side of the page, next to the “City of Camas Title 5 Updates for Business Licenses” informational report.

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