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Kenmore businesses apply for city's business registration program
More than 600 Kenmore businesses registered in the city's new business registration program.
The Kenmore City Council voted in favor of the program at a meeting on April 22, 2013. Businesses registered in the program will be on Kenmore's online directory, set to launch on the city's website by September.
Assistant City Manager Nancy Ousley said the decision goes way back to when the council was creating an economic development strategy in 2009.
"This was one of the actions that was called for in our five year action plan to support local businesses," Ousley said. "The best way to be able to support our local businesses is to know who is here so that we can connect with them better and therefore learn more about what their needs are."
Council members say they want their program to be business-friendly.
"That's one of the reasons we called it registration and not license," Ousley said. "We didn't want it to be costly or burdensome to our business owners, we wanted it to be something they could all benefit from."
The intention of the program is to identify business clusters and other information that helps the city in marketing and designing initiatives aiding local businesses. An example is home-based businesses, emergency contact and safety information required when business owners apply, will be available for public safety agencies. Revenue from the program will be directed to promoting the Kenmore business community and other programs for local businesses, such as the Kenmore Business Alliance.
"There are about 60 Washington cities who work with the Washington Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Business Licensing Service for online registration and renewal services," Ousley said. "We felt it was important for us to join those other cities."
Registration for new businesses is $29 and the renewal fee is $21.
"Another great part of this is that, unlike a lot of cities, the requirement for businesses in Kenmore to register is only for businesses that are physically located here," Ousley said. "Quite a few cities require you to register if you do any kind of business in their area at all, even if you are not physically located there."
The city is working with the state department of revenue to do actual administration of the business registration and are sending out renewal notices. As of July 31, the city reported having 58 percent of their registered businesses be home-based.
"That told us a lot about what businesses are operating here," Ousley said. "Our hope is that they tell us what they think they need from us to succeed and we can design program around that."