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Mayor Essek forms business licensing panel | News, Sports, Jobs

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Mayor Douglas Essek has created a special committee to consider a licensing process for Fredonia businesses.

Announced at Monday’s Board of Trustees workshop, the move was met with skepticism by all four trustees, though two of them did agree to accept Essek’s nominations for the panel. Trustees Scott Johnston and James Lynden will join Charles LaBarbera, the village’s top code enforcement officer, and Village Attorney Charles Roberts on the committee.

“The goal is to form a village business licensing policy and get that on ASAP. If that committee could start meeting ASAP, that would also be great,” Essek said.

Asked to elaborate by Lynden and Trustee Roger Britz, the mayor said, “it would require new and current village businesses to obtain a business license from the village as they do from the county and the state when they become a business.”

See LICENSING, Page A5

“Why would we create another level of licensing?” asked Trustee EvaDawnBashaw. “Those of us who have businesses have DBAs (Doing Business As declaration forms) that are registered with the county. Just use those.”

“I have professional licenses, I have inspections, I have all the permits … there’s multiple things depending on the type of businesses,” said Lynden, who owns a hair salon in Fredonia. “I think this is just one more additional thing that could drive businesses out.”

Roberts said the committee could help make sure the businesses do have their required licenses and permits. “Isn’t that what our code enforcement does?” said Lynden.

LaBarbera said a licensing process would let village officials know ahead of time if a business changes ownership. “The license would come from the village board, not from code enforcement,” he added.

“It’s not up for debate right now,” Essek said. “I want to assign a committee. Trustee Lynden, if you wish not to be on it, you can let me know and I’ll assign someone else, but I want this committee to review the options on that and to come back to the village board and myself with some recommendations here. I’d like to have that within the month.”

“It sounds like an enormous amount of work and I don’t know what the upside is,” said Johnston. “What are we trying to achieve?”

“We’re trying to achieve compliance with businesses that might not be in compliance right now, that code enforcement might not have anything to do with,” Essek replied. “It’s not putting any more additional things on, it’s making sure that everything that is supposed to be followed right now, rules, regulations and guidelines from any government agency, are followed.”

The mayor asserted that LaBarbera would continue to enforce such rules. “I’m not asking anybody to be walking around and affecting businesses,” he said.

Lynden suggested the village Planning Board should be focusing on business issues. He said he was not sure how a licensing process would give officials any more information than what they have now.

“You can meet once, you can meet 10 times, you can meet once and decide this is something you don’t want to do for the village,” Essek said, asking Lynden again if he wanted to be on the committee. Lynden said he would, as did Johnston.

Johnston then asked, “Does this also include food trucks?” Essek replied, “That would be something I would like the committee to come back to, if that’s something that makes sense. At this point, it’s very open ended. It could be brick and mortar businesses, it could be food trucks.

“I need the committee to look into that to see if (the licensing) will work for the village. I don’t know. That’s why I need this committee to work here real briefly, real quickly, to see if that’s something the village should look into.”

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