Mississauga looks to reduce or eliminate major fee for businesses

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Published May 20, 2021 at 9:20 pm

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A proposal to roll back business license fees by as much as 100 per cent this year has been sent back to staff by Mississauga City Council.

Staff had prepared a proposal that would see the annual fees paid by local business reduced or, in the case of body rub parlours, strip clubs, driving schools and restaurants, even eliminated, depending on the impact the pandemic has had on their revenues.

A two-tier model was developed by Transportation & Public Works staff that classified businesses as either ‘ordered to close’ or ‘permitted to open’ by provincial regulations. That report was delivered to Council April 14 but deferred to the May 19 meeting.

On May 19 Council sent it back again.

Ward 6 Councillor Ron Starr expressed some concern with the optics of putting strip clubs and body rub parlours in the first tier and said he hoped other businesses would also be granted the same Tier 1 recognition.

“There are so many small businesses really being affected,” he said. “And these small businesses are the heart and soul of this city.”

Staff’s plan calls three different options for each tier.

Tier 1 would be the aforementioned body rub parlours, adult entertainment places, restaurants and related food services, as well as personal services (such as nail salons), and the first option calls for their renewal fees eliminated for this calendar year.

Starr would like to see the categories tweaked so those businesses hurt the most by the pandemic can be helped.
“There are thousands of businesses out there who are suffering – mom and pop businesses – so that has to be reviewed,” he said. “Restaurants, taxis, personal services, they’re suffering the worst of it.”

The second tier would include companies who were allowed to open in 2021 but impacted by the slowing of the economy, such as contractors, trades and building renovators, service stations, taxis, limousine and airport transportations services, tow truck operators and tobacco sales, to name a few.

The license fees vary greatly as well, with fees ranging from $6,999 for body rub parlours and $5,561 for strip clubs to $194 for restaurants and building renovators.

But even those paying relatively small fees are in need of help from the City, Starr argued.

“We need to take a look at these small businesses who have been hit the hardest,” he said. “We’re in a business pandemic, so even if it’s only $200 or $500, that could make or break some of them,” adding that he’s already seeing some restaurants close their doors for good in his journeys through his Ward.

The three options presented by staff would see fees reduced by 100 per cent (Tier 1) and 50 per cent (Tier 2) in the first option; 75 per cent and 25 per cent (Option 2); and 50 per cent to zero reduction (Option 3).

The move would cost the City between just under $1.5 million to $366,000, depending on the option.
Starr said staff has already reached out to councillors asking for input.

“We want to look at all the businesses being impacted so we can help them out.”

There are already provisions for businesses to put off paying their license renewal fees so deferring the issue does not affect businesses, he added. “We don’t need to be dealing with this right now so I’m happy with the deferral.”

The motion to defer was approved unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

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