Evanston’s Economic Development Committee will consider a proposal tonight to vastly expand the range of businesses required to pay a fee to operate in the city.

Currently about 500 businesses and 400 food establishments are licensed by the city. All state-licensed occupations, home-based businesses and tax-exempt organizations are exempt.

City officials figure that switching to a registration system from a licensing-based scheme would let them extract fees from as many as 5,000 businesses in town.

A staff memo claims the new fee requirement would “improve communication and service delivery, and help the city do a better job connecting with Evanston-based vendors for bidding and procurement.

The scheme, staff says, could also double or triple the roughly $50,000 of revenue the city now takes in from business licensing.

Under the new scheme fees would start at $25 for home-based businesses and range up to $250 for establishments occupying more than 10,000 square feet.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Business registration scheme?

    Would Evanston Now need to pay a registration fee under this proposed system?

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