FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Mayor and Council of the City of Canton authorized the launch of the "License to Recovery" program to assist local small businesses in light of the current pandemic. Under the program, the City will zero out the occupational tax for businesses with 50 employees or fewer that are locally owned and operated. This will allow for staff to refund to businesses those occupational taxes that have already been paid to date or waive those taxes for businesses that have requested an extension during the pandemic.
"The City of Canton supports the hard work of local business owners and understands that the last couple of months have been anything but normal," noted Mayor Bill Grant. "We know that having operating cash is important now more than ever for these entrepreneurs and this program of rebating occupational taxes will give some of that cash back to help with recovery."
City staff noted that the total collection of occupational taxes so far this fiscal year are $128,000 over budgeted revenues. The anticipated cost of the rebate program is less than $350,000.
"Staff will begin to send letters starting next week to all licensed businesses in the City limits of Canton to inform them of the program and provide them access to an application for participation into the program," explained Billy Peppers, City Manager. "The application will additionally be available online beginning June 1. Once the applications are received, we believe that we can verify and begin processing returns or waivers within a matter of days."
The License to Recovery Program was the working product of dialogues between City staff, Mayor Grant and Councilor Brooke Schmidt, the chair of the Economic Development Committee.
Additionally, Council requested that the City Attorney bring an ordinance revision to the June meeting cycle that would make permanent the current executive order by Mayor Grant that allows restaurants to sell beer and wine by the package with to-go orders. If approved, this would allow all licensed businesses that currently have consumption on premises capabilities to additionally sell beer and wine packages to go.
"This is a chance to create additional economic capacity for transactions between patrons and our restaurants," added Councilor Sandy McGrew.