Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Business License Proposal close for Havre

The City Planning and Development Committee is submitting a resolution at the August 2nd council meeting to implement a requirement that all businesses operating within the city limits of Havre have a business license. This process began quite some time ago and it missed the last meeting because of some “glitches” in the wording of the resolution.

Many around town contend that this is being done strictly so the city can get a handle on the who, what and where of the medical marijuana growers operations. Mayor Solomon has said at earlier meetings that the city is merely trying to update their zoning and business districts and the medical marijuana issue was just another of many reasons to do so but it was not the only reason. Also earlier reports stated that businesses located close by with a 59501 zip code that do “large amounts of business” in the city would also be required to obtain a license. It was suggested at first that the city charge a fee of $25 for these licenses but over the course of many meetings the committee decided that since they had no idea how much time or cost would be borne by city staff these proposed licenses would initially be free and then they could reassess the subject. Also it was suggested businesses be required to “follow all state and Federal laws” At the meeting where this phrase was objected to by the medical marijuana people Planning and Development Chairman Tretheway made the comment that President Obama had directed Federal people to not enforce any marijuana laws in states that had passed the medical marijuana laws so this would be a moot point.

Originally the committee had used terminology that said a business was “an entity providing services or products for profit, including home-based businesses. From what we have learned this week "some" home-based businesses will now be exempt. I guess the only way to really know what the resolution will end up saying is to come to the City Council meeting on Monday, August 2nd.

The city already has an itinerant vendor ordinance that requires all people coming into Havre and setting up a temporary location to buy a $100 permit. This ordinance stemmed from operations like the guy that sets up his tent down by Creative Leisure / Park Hotel and sells discount shoes. The thought at that time was that these people pay no local taxes like local businesses so they needed to contribute to our budget. I have no problem with that but I wonder if this is being enforced? For instance, this past week the people in this picture were selling cherries out of the back of their car down by the viaduct. Did they pay this fee? Did anyone stop in to see? The reason I ask is because one, the City of Havre doesn’t have a good history of enforcing any of our current ordinances, let alone new ones. And two, these people looked like they were barely getting by and I find it hard to believe they would be able to hand over a hundred bucks for a license and still make a profit on that corner. So if this is being enforced willy-nilly will the new resolution be the same way?

I am keeping my mind open until I see the official resolution on August 2nd but I would love to hear your comments. What do you think about the proposed business license?


  1. I got $25 says this won't stay a no fee license for long

  2. Gee i wonder what home based businesses will have to get license?! hmmm.... Not for medical marijuana? Solomon is full of it.

  3. you got that right hillbilly. The idea of holding off the fee the first year, just to see, and go from there, well, that should scare the local business crowd. Next year, when they figure out the cost of this program, maybe inflate that charge for other areas the city needs money. Where would it end? I also agree with shawn, that this is about medical marijuana.

  4. Just who is going to enforce this law and what is going to happen if you do not get the license? We have a county sanatarian but still a lot of the Havre food places are dirty and need to be claened. My point is that if we make laws and have no enforcement of said law then the law is a waste of time. I would like to know if I have a small business and do not license will my pennalty be the same as a large business that dose the same thing?

  5. your statement that the people selling cherries are "just barely making it" is just another example of your belief that you are superior to all others and your viewpoint is the only correct one! For all we know they could own the whole farm!LOL The "leaders" of Havre will never permit Medical Marijuana without raising some objections regardless of how frivolous their claims and concerns. Remember Solomon suggesting that you could possibly fail a urinalyisis because you were sitting next to someone who was legally smoking their medicine...Tim! just move away from that individual... seems easy enough!Good luck on this one people of Havre!

  6. Wamnii: When did Mayor Solomon say that? I don't recall that statement and I attended just about every one of the pot meetings at City Hall.

    Also I heard a rumor this morning at coffee that the City might be scrapping the whole business license thing after all. I guess there was a Council meeting or something last night and the talk around town is they are just going to ask businesses to register now instead of making them buy a license. Caved into the pressure I guess.

    Check it out HDC, maybe I heard wrong.

  7. I think they are just realizing this is an uphill battle since the people of Montana have voted, and politically this requirement makes them look like sore losers, to require these punitive and unwarranted stipulations.

    It would much easier from a PR standpoint for them to back down and point fingers of blame at the legislature for clarification.

    They probably will procrastinate for as long as possible since this is controversial topic.

    By doing so they can save face with their tax complaining business constituency, while simultanuosly winking at the medical marijuana supporters.

    It would be far easier for them to just go after the cathouse in town.

  8. Fuelburner-

    Speaking about eateries that could use a good scrubbing-

    I have heard of other city's sanatarians releasing the cleanliness reports of different resturants publicly. Some local papers actually publish the reports, without edit.

    Somehow I think the Havre KFC would top the list.

  9. Wamnii think about this logically. I stopped to take a look because I mistakenly thought they had Flathead cherries which they did not. These people may well own the farm but they were driving an old suburban that couldn’t have been worth much and they had that packed with sleeping bags so I would assume they were staying in a tent somewhere. At the risk of also sounding “superior” does that sound like someone that is making big money? The point of the article was that Havre doesn’t enforce their current laws and most likely wouldn’t enforce any new ones either.

    As for Solomon suggesting he could fail a urinalysis by breathing second hand marijuana smoke I would like to suggest that you fabricated that story just to make yourself feel superior.

    I know some city guys that read this blog and I would like to ask them if these people actually came in and bought the $100 dollar permit? If they didn’t, why didn’t someone go down and give them one of those cease and desist orders?

  10. Where is this cathouse at Deconstructor?

  11. and yes corrector dude, you should run

  12. Mayor Tim has decided that the business license idea wasn’t so great after all and asked the committee to stop moving forward with the resolution. Apparently Mayor Tim has been getting some negative feedback on this subject. His new idea of the week is to just have all local businesses “register” with the City so everyone knows who is operating as a business.

    The jest of the story is that this committee has been wasting their time at all those meetings but on the bright side at least it gave the paper something to write about and the rest of us something new to complain about.

  13. If you look at the City/County lines you will notice that the corner that was photographed is in the county. This is the same reason bums stand and collect money there without being hasseled by the police. Anything that happens on that corner is the business of the county so no, they did not pay the license fee.