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City considers business license fee rebate amid pandemic

The City of Cold Lake says it is proposing a rebate of business licensing fees paid by commercial and home-based businesses which operate within the community. The proposed rebate is in alignment with the Government of Alberta’s Red Tape Reduction Strategy to promote positive business growth and streamline approvals amid challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know many of our local businesses have suffered over the past eight months with the restrictions that are in place due to COVID, particularly those in the hospitality and tourism sectors,” said Kevin Nagoya, Chief Administrative Officer. “What we are proposing to City Council is taking the licensing fees paid for 2020 and giving them back to businesses, as a way of easing some of the financial pressure.”

Officials say the proposed rebate would automatically be applied as a credit for business license fees owing for 2021. Businesses operating from outside Cold Lake city limits and those applying for a new license in 2021 would still be required to pay the applicable fee. Commercial businesses pay a $75 annual license fee, while home-based businesses pay $150 annually. The proposed rebate of 2020 license fees to offset 2021 fees would result in approximately $54,000 in lost revenue for the City.

“It doesn’t represent a large financial loss for the City in the grand scheme, and at the same time it’s not a major cost savings for most businesses,” said Nagoya. “But every little bit helps and we’ll do whatever we can to help our business community recover from this pandemic and bounce back even stronger.”

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There were 360 commercial and 179 home-based business licenses issued in the city of Cold Lake in 2019, according to officials.

City Council will consider the proposed rebate at an upcoming Council meeting.

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