Beginning in January 2025, Hermiston Businesses Will Pay License Fees

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Jason Multanen, vice president of operations for Consolidated Supply Co., in Hermiston, celebrates after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 25, 2024. Beginning next year, businesses operating in Hermiston will have to pay a business license fee. (NEONOW file photo)

Beginning in January 2025, businesses operating in Hermiston will have to pay an annual business license fee.

The Hermiston City Council voted unanimously on Monday to adopt the proposed fee schedule for business licenses. The annual fees will range from $85 to $1,200, depending on the size of the business and where it is based.

The council voted in January to implement a business license program but delayed approving the fee schedule presented at the meeting in order to get feedback from the business community.

The city then formed a Business License Fee Committee comprising city councilors, Hermiston Chamber of Commerce representatives and local business owners. The committee’s job was to study the issue and make recommendations.

Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith said the committee met multiple times during the spring and voted 6-1 on June 10 to recommend that the city council adopt the business license fee schedule as originally proposed back in January. Smith said the proposed fee structure is designed to be straightforward and is modeled after the fee system used in Pendleton.

According to the fee structure approved by the council, a business with a permanent location inside the city limits with zero to 5 employees would pay a base fee of $85 a year.

A similar business with six to 49 employees would pay the base fee plus $15 for every employee over five. As an example, a business with 9 FTEs would pay a base fee of $85, plus $60 for the additional 4 FTEs, totaling $145.

A similar-based business with 50 or more employees would pay $1,000 per year.

A business without a permanent location inside city limits with zero to 5 employees would pay a base fee of $100. A similar business with six to 49 employees would pay the base fee plus $20 per employee over five. A similar business with more than 50 employees would pay $1,200 per year.

The city allows for exemptions such as a typical family garage sale and certain types of vendors operating at “special events” such as Melonfest. Nonprofits are also exempt in most cases.

More details are available online in the staff report.

Smith said the city has been in contact Pendleton officials to get some insight into how they rolled out their business license program.

“That was very helpful in how we’re going to implement this,” Smith said.

1 COMMENT

  1. hmmm, they kill a bill that would allow Hermiston to collect revenue from Marijuana sales and turn around and increase the burden to business owners. I wonder how much more supportive the business community would have been around that legalization issue had they known you were about to increase their tax. I’ve talked to a few shop owners, and they tell me they are just barely hanging on as it is. This isn’t an endorsement for Marijuana, and I recognize their are some elements that may come with drug sales/use that could outweigh the benefit of increased revenue, still….

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