Council backs annual business licence fee for non-residents

After being sent back to committee twice for further consideration, a recommendation to charge non-resident contractors a one-shot annual fee will be drawn up as an amended bylaw.
A report from the Planning and Development executive committee (PDEC) was approved at Monday night’s council meeting, stating that this recommendation, which is for non-resident building trade contractors to pay $350 each year for a business licence if they want to work in Fort Frances, should remain at it did when it first came forward from an Aug. 12 PDEC meeting.
Planning and Development Superintendent Rick Hallam said the rationale for the recommended amendment to the town’s business licence bylaw is as follows:
•It is in keeping with trade licensing practices of other municipalities in the district;
•The concept of an annual licence fee, as opposed to the present requirement of each individual job requiring a separate business licence, has received more favourable comment from local non-resident contractors; and
•The concept of an annual licence fee for non-resident contractors is beneficial in that is it easier to administer and police.
According to Bylaw 04/01, the term “non-resident” applies to any building trade contractor, person, company, or individual whose place of business, offices, or works yard is not situated within the Town of Fort Frances.
This also would include businesses that conduct their business from a location outside of the boundaries of Fort Frances, but whose principals reside within town limits.
This bylaw amendment applies only to building trade contractors and not non-resident merchants, such as those applying to sell their wares on a one-time basis.
Council voted 5-1 in favour of this, with Mayor Dan Onichuk against. He had spoken against this method of licensing at the last several council meetings.
At the Sept. 12 meeting, the mayor said he felt the one-shot fee only encouraged non-resident contractors to take business away from local ones, adding $350 is a small fee to pay to work in Fort Frances considering local contractors pay much more than that in taxes each year.