Canton board OKs ordinance requiring business licenses starting in 2018

December 26, 2017
Canton, MO

By Edward Husar

CANTON, Mo. -- The Canton Board of Aldermen this week passed a revised ordinance requiring most business owners to buy a $35 business license each year starting in 2018.

The ordinance also requires business owners to show proof that their buildings are insured for at least $50,000.

However, the board agreed to exempt 19 occupations from the need to obtain a license or provide proof of insurance because they are exempt under state law.

The exempt occupations are: minister, teacher, priest, attorney, certified public accountant, dentist, chiropractor, optometrist, physician, Christian Science practitioner, insurance agent, chiropodist, college professor, veterinarian, architect, professional engineer, land surveyor, auctioneer and real estate broker/salesman.

Two months ago, the board removed all exemptions from the proposal so the ordinance would apply equally to everyone. However, Mayor Jarrod Phillips said city officials subsequently learned that certain occupations must be exempt in accordance with state law. So exemptions had to be restored.

"We just made it mirror the state statute because a city can't pass anything more stringent than the state regulations," he said.

Under the ordinance, the business license must be renewed each year for $35. It will be good from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.

Because of the delay in passing the amended rules, Phillips said business owners will be given until the end of January to file paperwork and pay the fee for 2018 business licenses.

"We didn't want to make it a burden on them" with the holidays approaching, he said.

Phillips said one purpose of the new ordinance is to assure the city knows who is responsible in the event of a fire, windstorm or other incident that damages a business.

In the past, he said, some uninsured structures were destroyed by fire, and the city ended up paying cleanup costs.

"So this is to try and alleviate the taxpayer from having to pick up the tab for somebody who didn't maintain insurance on their building," he said.

The new licensing system also will give the city information that can be used to contact business owners when boil orders, power interruptions and other problems occur.

In other action, the board passed an ordinance making it a city violation for anyone who misuses the 911 emergency telephone service by making repeated non-emergency calls.

In the past, Phillips said, anyone misusing the 911 system was issued a ticket for a state offense and had to go to Circuit Court. "Now we'll be able to keep it in Municipal Court instead," he said.

The board also continued discussions on a proposal to offer tuition reimbursements for employees who set out to earn the equivalent of a high school diploma, a college degree or an advanced degrees.

"We want to be able to invest in our employees and better their lives while they're working for us," Phillips said.