Leesburg sets business license fees

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Leesburg City Council approved a new fee schedule for business licenses and finalized a fee for a license to sell liquor by the drink at its February meeting Tuesday night.

Rather than collect fees per employee, as the city had done in the past, Leesburg will now charge a flat rate based on the number of employees a business has, City Clerk Casey Moore explained.

The fee schedule is $75 for businesses with 1-5 employees; $100 for businesses with 6-10 workers; $200 for 11-20; $300 for 21-30; $400 for 31-40; $500 for 41-50; and $750 for businesses with 50 or more employees.

"The only businesses this really affects in a negative way (with higher costs) are businesses with only one employee," Councilwoman Rhonda Futch said.

Councilwoman Judy Powell recommended -- and the full council approved -- a $3,000 fee for licenses that will allow establishments to sell beer, wine and liquor by the drink.

"The (Planning and Zoning) Committee agreed to follow county guidelines with a few exceptions," Powell said.

Powell also sought, and got, permission to start the process of forming a Downtown Development Authority, and she recommended following the process for the city to be recognized as a City of Ethics.

The council adopted a resolution to partner with the Georgia Department of Revenue to ensure proper payment of sales taxes to the city, and discussed moving the city's Public Works department to land owned by the county's school system so that the school bus shop could be expanded onto property now used by Public Works.

"This is still in the preliminary stages, but we want to move forward with this process," Mayor Jim Quinn said.

Bill Mitchell, manager of the city's new $6 million wastewater treatment plant, said the plant is now online during a Water and Sewer Department report.

"We're still in start-up mode, but we're officially online," Mitchell said. "Everything is running great right now, and our pond is officially offline."

The city also approved, pending an FBI background check, a request for an alcohol license for a new E-Z Food Mart. Police Chief Charles Moore said the establishment's owners had passed an initial background check.