The Rapidian

City Commission Approves Fee Reductions for Most Business License Categories


Contact: Laurie Parks, City Clerk



The Grand Rapids City Commission approved the 2011-2012 Business Licensing 
Fees proposed by  City Clerk Lauri Parks at its Tuesday evening meeting.  Parks 
recommended fee decreases for most of the business licensing categories for the 
upcoming business licensing year.  The City Code provides that license fees shall be 
established annually by resolution of the City Commission prior to June 1, to become 
effective for the license year beginning July 1. 
Fee Decreases in Majority of Business License Categories
Fee decreases were realized in 46 1st Issuance and 20 Renewal license fees.  
Twelve (12) other categories (1st Issuance and Additional Unit) saw modest 
increases.  All categories were reviewed and various fee adjustments--some positive 
and some negative--were made as a result of labor costs (salary, pension and health 
care), overhead and materials costs, time requirements, and departmental reviews. 
The most significant cost savings came from the Fire and Building Inspections 
Departments working collaboratively to streamline the inspection process for 
business licensing.  This transformation has created efficiencies in the business 
licensing process, thus lowering the costs related to these inspections.
Other Fee Adjustments
Business license fee adjustments were also approved for the Pedicab Driver and 
Home Occupation-Class B licenses.  
In 2010, the Pedicab Licenses were transferred to the City Clerk’s Office.  The 
fees were evaluated and adjusted in accordance with the Michigan Municipal 
League (MML) “full cost recovery” methodology established in 2003.  After applying 
the MML fee methodology the Pedicab Driver Business License saw a 132% ($106) 
increase over the previous year.  Therefore, City Commissioners requested a plan 
be developed to address this concern.  
Parks noted, “The FY2011-12 Pedicab Driver fee reflects a 50% subsidy in the
cost of labor associated with the cost of this license.  This is the same methodology 
that was used in 2003 for the Taxicab Driver’s fee when  we faced a similar fee 
increase due to the implementation of the (then new) MML fee methodology.”The Home Occupation-Class B license category was established in 2010.  At that 
time the fee was based on conservative cost estimates to administer this license.  
Since this category is relatively new, it was necessary for staff to monitor costs 
related to this license category. In this first year, the staff time of both the Fire and 
Building Inspection Departments was consistently required for inspections; therefore, 
the cost savings resulting from the collaboration of these two departments was not 
applied to this business category.  
Future Business Licensing Transformation
The City Clerk’s Office is also conducting research regarding Licensing Fees and 
Business Registration as part of its on-going transformation goals and will present 
such findings to the City Commission at a Special Briefing in the future.  
Attached are the business license fees for the 2011-2012 license year.
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