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.