Number of unpaid business licenses down to single digits

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The number of unpaid business licenses in Demopolis is down to just four after being as high as 113 the first week of March.

Mayor Mike Grayson announced the new numbers during Thursday’s city council meeting.

The council has been considering how to handle unpaid business licenses for the past month.

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Businesses were given a deadline of April 1 to buy a license or be summoned to municipal court for operating without one.

“I think there has been a sense of urgency; people have come in and paid,” Grayson said.

The council also discussed a new process for license renewals in 2015. If approved, starting next year, all business licenses will be considered delinquent if not paid by Feb. 1 and a 15 percent penalty will be added to the total cost.

After Feb. 15, there will be a $100 a day fee added to the 15 percent penalty and businesses will be given a warning by the city’s code enforcement officer.

On March 1, any business that hasn’t bought a license will be served a municipal court summon and be required to pay all fines, penalties and court costs.

The city discussed publishing a list of businesses with unpaid licenses in The Demopolis Times sometime in March but decided against the idea.

“I don’t think we need to bring them into court and embarrass them [too],” said Councilman Charles Jones Jr.

Grayson and the council hope the new guidelines will eliminate businesses “riding the city” during the months of February and March.