Georgetown County Considers Requests for Business Expenses and Licenses in Unincorporated Territories | News

Georgetown — In the near future, you may be required to pay a fee or obtain a license to do business in unincorporated Georgetown County.

Discussions about registering or licensing a business in unincorporated Georgetown County will help determine what businesses operate in the county and what types of businesses may be eligible for recruitment. Although re-emerging as a potential way to figure out what’s going on, the license could also help police to stop illegal bars.

The unincorporated portion of the county is home to more than 53,500 residents, representing 83 percent of the county’s total population. An estimated 2,500 businesses operate in the unincorporated area, which covers more than 800 square miles of land outside the boundaries of Georgetown, Andrews and Pawleys Island.

Questions remain from the county council about how fees are collected and whether licenses that can be confiscated by law enforcement are desirable. Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said he has been asking the city council in the past few years to grant licenses to businesses to make it easier to close businesses that are operating in defiance of the law.

County Treasurer Carice Langston said the registration fee goal is less than income.

“I pay more attention to registration fees because I look at registration fees just to see who is doing business in Georgetown County rather than actually generating revenue. It’s the equivalent of a license,” Langston said.

Langston said counties would need to be approved by county ordinances to introduce a flat registration fee. So it could be done not only during the next county budgeting cycle, but also in the middle of the year.

Business licenses, on the other hand, are based on South Carolina’s tiered size, which increases according to the revenue your business generates.

However, revenue from licensing comes at a cost. Enacting a business license requires hiring a staff member or two, Langston said.

Although unincorporated areas of the county have seen significant population growth in recent years, in Langston’s mind the registration fee isn’t so much about increasing income as it is about knowing what the county has and needs. He said it meant an opportunity.

“Who’s here, what kind of business is here, what’s going on from an economic point of view because we’re trying to bring in new business, how’s it going?” Langston said. Said. “And if you don’t know who’s here, you don’t know what you need.”

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Langston projects a budget of $98 million for Georgetown County next fiscal year, a slight increase from last year but about 12 percent more than three years ago.

At a budget work meeting in April, he said a property tax hike next year would be needed to finance the construction of new jails while meeting the county’s bond payment limit.

It’s unclear how much revenue the county will make from registering and licensing businesses. The amount of either procedure has not yet been mentioned.

While the registration fee may ultimately become a policy of the city council, Weaver said licensed businesses will no doubt give county sheriff’s offices the resources to shut down illegal businesses.

Weaver said unlicensed nightclubs selling alcohol have sprung up, especially in the Dunbar and Choppy neighborhoods of the central county, and have become a source of violent crime. Knowing who has or does not have a license to do business on private property would be an important tool for him.

“If we had a county-level business license that set certain standards for business licenses, obviously these types of businesses would be hurt and could be closed down immediately,” Weaver said of the punishment for the illegal sale of alcohol. rice field.

Mr. Weaver is not seeking extra income from the county through licensing, nor is he trying to be “big brother” to businesses that are legally operated, illegally operated. He was adamant that if he could close the business, that would be enough.

Langston said previous talks between the councils about business licenses were “immediately shattered.” The current council seems to be taking the idea more seriously, she added.

City Councilman Bob Anderson called on the budget committee in May to keep in mind the benefits of business permits for law enforcement.

“I’ll tell our sheriff, he always said to me, ‘Bob, if we had a license and I had the ability to jerk it, these late-night bars It’s going to be a big help for me,” or something like that,” Anderson said.

City Councilman Stella Mercado said meetings with Weaver and the fire department showed the need for business regulation.

“I think we need a way to remove non-compliant people,” Mercado said, asking Langston to look into both licensing and registration fees.

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