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?