Charleston Council Defers Business License Expansion

January 9, 2012

Investigative Reports

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The NerveThe Charleston City Council voted Dec. 20 to renew the city’s current business license ordinance, but agreed to defer a decision to widen its scope.

Councilman Michael Seekings noted that he had received many calls of protest and some members of the public on hand also voiced concern.

The measure would make business licenses mandatory for all property owners who rent three or more apartments. Presently, a business license is needed only if an owner rents five or more apartments.

The reason behind the proposed change is unclear.

It appears to be a revenue-raising move, though it appears doubtful whether that goal will be achieved.

Property owners who rent three or four apartments are likely to be shop owners along King Street making use of the area above the first floor of their premises, or homeowners with carriage houses or large houses.

These individuals already bear a 6 percent assessment rate and get no break for school taxes. A business license fee will make for an even heavier burden.