Friday, May 18, 2012

Doing business in the Town is worth the cost


This week the Berlin Mayor and Council postponed a decision on whether to require out-of-town contractors to pay an annual fee for a town license. Comments from both sides pointed out during the discussion that the fee wouldn’t be a real revenue driver and that it would add only a negligible layer of administrative oversight.
Out-of-town contractors already regularly call the Town to see what the fees are, given that the practice is nearly ubiquitous. Debate around the fee, which would almost certainly be an inexpensive one, tended to focus on whether it made the Town seem less business friendly on one side and whether it was equitable to the tax-paying, license-holding businesses in town on the other. But there is another aspect to the argument that was missed and should certainly be at the center of the debate. The argument is about value.
Berlin is a place worth doing business, both in and with, and creating a fee for the privilege of taking part in its continued economic growth is a way of establishing that fact. It will not stymie competition among the businesses that regularly make significant profits from the Town’s growth.
All it would do is let the wider business community know that Berlin takes its contribution to the region’s economic growth seriously and expects participation from those who currently benefit for free. We don’t feel business owners will feel that it is too much to ask.

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