Evanston would charge accountants, barbers and all other state-licensed professionals a business registration and inspection fee under a plan discussed by the Human Services Committee Monday.

Evanston would charge accountants, barbers and all other state-licensed professionals a business registration and inspection fee under a plan discussed by the Human Services Committee Monday.

Alderman Delores Holmes has been pushing for the measure for months — arguing that health and sanitation issues have cropped up at some state-licensed local businesses.

The city gets complaints from residents about these situations, Holmes says, but doesn’t have the power to do much about them now.

While the issues raised have focused mainly on medical and personal care businesses, the proposed new registration fee would also sweep in other licensed professionals, including architects, attorneys and accountants.

The city staff has estimated that a registration fee of $150 for health-related businesses would bring in about $22,500. But the staff estimates hiring a sanitarian to conduct those inspections would cost $75,000 in salary and benefits.

The staff claims the city would be able to make up the shortfall by charging each of the other 750 professional businesses in the city a $75 fee.

That part of the program, a staff memo claims, would cost nothing to administer. But in reality, the staff plan calls for diverting existing staff from other duties to conduct those inspections.

Among nearby communities surveyed by the city staff, only Mount Prospect has a comprehensive inspection and registration program for state-licensed businesses.

And city attorney Elke Purze noted that Mount Prospect’s ordinance has not been tested in court for compliance with state limits on municipal power in dealing with licensed professions.

Several other towns checked by city staff inspect just nail salons, beauty shops and massage businesses.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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9 Comments

  1. Looks like a $500
    Looks like a $500 registration fee would cover the salary and benefits.

    Also, if health and sanitation issues have cropped up at some state-licensed local businesses, why not ask the state to ramp up inspections or direct people to make their complaints to the state?

  2. Taxman by the Beatles
    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah yeah, I’m the Taxman.

    (If you drive a car car), I’ll tax the street,
    (If you try to sit sit), I’ll tax your seat,
    (If you get too cold cold), I’ll tax the heat,
    (If you take a walk walk), I’ll tax your feet.
    Taxman.

    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Don’t ask me what I want it for
    (Ah Ah! Mister Wilson!)
    If you don’t want to pay some more
    (Ah Ah! Mister Heath!),
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeeeah, I’m the Taxman.

    Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    And you’re working for no-one but me,
    (Taxman).

  3. We need inspections
    On the 700 block of Howard Street alone, if you include both sides, there are no less than 6 (and possibly more) hair salons, none of which can be inspected by either municipality. The state does not have sufficient staff to inspect or probably follow up adequately on sanitation complaints. In addition, while I am not suggesting this happens at any particular shop, small businesses like hair salons and junk stores have been linked to gang money laundering. An increase in inspections might have the added benefit (along with public safety, a legitimate concern) of helping police distinguish criminal businesses from legitimate ones.

    However, I would like to see numbers that show that this fee goes directly to inspections and is not a revenue generator.

    Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

    1. You are confused – about the law – Michele
      Michele – the regulation of licensed professional is the state’s business – NOT the city of Evanston.

      If there is a problem with Gangs in your neighbor get the police involved!

      From Bills story –
      “And city attorney Elke Purze noted that Mount Prospect’s ordinance has not been tested in court for compliance with state limits on municipal power in dealing with licensed professions.”

      Elke is correct – should the city now charge her to practice law for the city? This ordinance will no doubt be tested.

      Looks like the city is just looking for a new tax since it has run out of almost all others!

      1. Speak for yourself, Junad
        Someone running for Alderman should have a better understanding of local ordinances: the State and City work together in numerous situations, for instance there are both State and local fees for owning a car. In addition, you know well that I have indeed been working with the police on Gang issues and it is from them that I originally got this information.

        As a candidate for Alderman, you don’t seem to be proposing anything of substance: how exactly do you plan to address the various health and sanitation issues raised by the extremely large number of beauty salons in Evanston? Provided that the users of the inspector are the ones who bear the cost, I think this is a viable solution to the problem.

        Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

        1. Bigger problem than beauty salons
          Michele – as to your statement “As a candidate for Alderman, you don’t seem to be proposing anything of substance: how exactly do you plan to address the various health and sanitation issues raised by the extremely large number of beauty salons in Evanston?”

          I am more interested in how to correct the ever increasing tax problem – come to the debates if you want some answers.

          Ofcourse you may want another 10-15% tax increase this year?

  4. City fee would hit professionals
    Some years ago the city tried to enforce the (then in place) handgun ban and requirement for registering said weapons. It seems that state regulated entities (licensed private security companies, and armored car guards for example), claimed they could not be meddled with by the city, and prevailed, because they were licensed by the state.

    Do we forget everything we’ve ever learned? Or is it because there is no one left in city government that has been there long enough to remember anything? Let’s not spend more money paying judgments.

    Look at the dismal record of the city trying to regulate the things they are supposed to regulate: most taxicabs are driven by unlicensed cab drivers (and the city refuses to revoke the cab medallions of the owners who permit this); bungling in certain city departments that awarded a cab driver license to a convicted sex offender, and then a member of the city law department who said the license couldn’t be taken away.

    The city looked the other way for years while millions of dollars of code violations existed at the one police station, five fire stations, other public buildings,including the civic center.
    Try that at your house………

    How about the new building at Oak and Clark that had the parking structure collapse? (fortunately without loss of life) City inspected?

    Need some extra money to help pay your real estate taxes? Here is a great idea from folks near Central Street: park 20 cars on your front lawn and charge $20 a head during NU football games. Just make sure it’s a day when the code enforcement people are off.

    99% of any perceived problems are already addressed by some ordinance already on the books. We need less government, and more responsive government, not more government.

  5. Irresponsible government
    Would these fees apply to Realtors and brokers? What about psychologists, carpenters, plumbers and so on?

    So these professionals licensed with the state now would have to pay a fee to work in Evanston. What kind of message does that send to the professional business community?

    Once again, our local government demonstrates that it is solely focused on finding ways to raise taxes rather than working on ways to cut spending.

    This is irresponsible government.

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