by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Sheldon Fingler, a local business owner and former Mayoral candidate, has presented to Council at Committee of the Whole on why he believes business licensing by the Town is unfair and provides zero value to the businesses that participate in licensing programs. Fingler was invited to present to Council after being asked by Councillor Stephen Dafoe, who recently debated Fingler after Dafoe discussed the idea of a regional business licences.
Fingler started his presentation by claiming that businesses do not receive any benefit for being licensed, saying despite having a business license in Morinville himself, his company did not show up in his search of the Town’s business directory on the Town website.
Further, he argued that customers would almost never try to find a business through the down directly and disagreed with the claim that a license with the Town makes a business legitimate, saying it’s unlikely residents would check with the Town.
Fingler also argued that the fee charged to business for this annual licensing is unfair, saying he would be fine with the licensing as soon as online retailers like Amazon are charged the same $100 for getting to operate in Morinville.
Councillor Barry Turner argued with Fingler’s points, saying the point of licensing is not to provide value to local business, but that it is an enforcement tool for the Town to be able to reject a businesses’ license is they act in contravention to Town bylaws/policy.
Fingler retorted saying: “You still can do that [enforcement] through your bylaws”, with Turner insisting “but the licenses are another way because if the businesses do not comply, you can pull their licenses.”
Mayor Holmes cautioned council that their conversation was quickly descending into a debate about the merit of business licenses themselves, rather than a discussion of the agenda item itself, Fingler’s presentation. Holmes argued that council should have all the facts before them before engaging in real debate, suggesting administration should make their case to Council about the value of business licensing.
Council Dafoe moved to have Administration come back tot he Aug. 29 Council meeting with a presentation on the current licensing program, and it’s purposes and benefits. The motion passes 7-0.