After several years of inconsistent enforcement, confusing requirements and verbal sword fighting with the business community, the Newport City Council approved what they believe (and what the business community finally believes), is a legally defensible business license ordinance.
In the “old days,” the cost of a Newport business license would depend on what type of business applied for one, how many employees they had, or how many rental properties they managed or how much business they did in the city. Regulatory push frequently came to legal shove at city hall, so much so, that both sides decided to throw out the old version and work toward a brand new one – one that would be more deeply researched and legally vetted.
Monday night they finally approved THE final version. City councilors appeared to be generally happy with the results. So are Newport’s property management business group and legal profession which pushed hard to get the city to change the rules as to who needs a business license and on what fee schedule.
In short, if your business is based in Newport, you are required to get a business license. If you own property and rent it out, you’re not charged on the number of rentals you have, rather, you pay a flat rate. It’s the same for property management companies that market a lot of properties. However, the property owners themselves must get a business license since their property produces income. In the case of special events, like a farmer’s market or street bazaar, the organization running things must obtain a blanket business license which covers everyone, including the vendors.
After the city council passed the new ordinance, a hush came over the council chambers. Then one by one stakeholders and audience members quietly rose from their chairs and met outside in the hall to reflect on the long and tediously frustrating road they had traveled, scarcely believing that their job was finally done after three long years. Three…long…years….