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March 14, 2008
Albany -- Albany business owners who haven't paid for their Occupational Tax Certificate must pay up-- or face a penalty. The deadline to pay is Monday.
It's part of a concentrated effort to enforce the city ordinance that requires every commercial and non-profit business to have an occupational tax certificate.
The Cookie Shoppe opened in downtown Albany 26 years ago. Owner Mona Qaqish says one of the first checks she writes is for the restaurant's Occupational Tax Certificate. She can't understand how some businesses have gotten out of paying.
"I thought that was the law, that you had to pay your business license. If you didn't pay your business license they would either fine you, or shut you down, or put a suspension on your business until you paid it," says Qaqish.
Mona believes what's good for her business is good for others and the city should have been concentrating on the issue much sooner.
"That's frustrating, seems like they would keep up with it."
Checking for the Occupational Tax certificate or business license was added to the check list last year for fire inspectors who make annual business inspections.
"We have come to find that that's an excellent way to find out if people have them or not," said Wes Smith, Assistant City Manager.
Next week, those who haven't paid can expect a visit from code enforcement officers.
"There are fines, we will run a report and find out who has not put their certificate in," said Smith.
Business owners like Mona agree those who don't pay should face punishment, because after all the city provides services with that tax revenue.
"Everything has it's rules, everything has to be paid right and you want your safety of the customers that come in you have to pay your bills on time, you don't want your lights cut off either,"
Business owners who fail to renew can expect to receive a summons to appear in Municipal Court.