Do you know how many businesses there are in Bloomington? The city doesn't either, but that could change soon.
The Bloomington City Council votes Monday night on a plan to set up an annual business registration program. Each business would have to pay a one-time $50 fee, then update its registration each year at no additional cost.
City Manager Tim Gleason said aside from the revenue the fee would generate, the city will also get valuable data about its business sector.
“Now we are going to be able to capture that information and see where our trends are,” Gleason said. “It plays right into the hand of economic development and trying to guide and see where our opportunities are, not just within the city but within the region as well.”
Gleason estimated the fee would generate somewhere between $175,000 and $225,000 for the city, based on a broad estimate of how many businesses are in the city.
“When I talked into this position, I was surprised that we didn’t have something in place already,” Gleason said. Gleason took over as city manager in July after four years as Decatur’s city manager.
Charities and home-based businesses wouldn't have to pay the registration fee.
If approved, businesses would have to register between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2019.
The city also plans to develop an app that would enable business owners to register and pay from a mobile device.
The council will also consider raising dozens of fees to bring them more in line with Normal and other comparable communities.
“It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison to the Town of Normal, but that was a component, along with other like municipalities,” Gleason said. “(We are) definitely trying not to exceed the similar fees that the Town of Normal has in place as well.”
The fee hikes, which are mostly for businesses, are expected to generate about $225,000 per year.
Alderman will also vote on a proposal to set up a new permitting process for boat docks at Lake Bloomington.
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