Partners seek license relief for Farmington area businesses

Three Farmington area groups are lobbying to give local businesses a break that could help with pandemic-related losses.

The Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Farmington Hills Economic Development Corporation, and the Farmington Downtown Development Authority are asking owners to report any 2020 fees or license charges that were paid despite their business being shut down or subject to limited capacity.

Chamber executive director Connor Osborn said the idea is to convince state officials to credit those 2020 payments toward 2021. He said EDC chair Lew Cantor approached him about wanting to do more for businesses.

“The three organizations have similar goals, and that’s wanting to see our businesses prosper,” Osborn said. “We started brainstorming ideas for solutions, rather than concerns.”

While a new federal aid bill has been approved, which means more grant funds may become available, Osborn said the group wanted to look beyond that. They knew that many businesses – particularly restaurants – were paying not only their traditional fees, but also had to acquire new licenses for COVID-driven changes like offering carry-out service.

While license fee credits won’t be a large chunk of money, he said, “it helps.”

“We want to find other solutions that we can bring to the state,” Osborn said. “This will be on-going as we continue to find ways to support these businesses.”

The best way residents can contribute is by eating, shopping, and getting services locally, he added. “We would love to see the community support our businesses and just be engaged in shopping locally.”

The Chamber is looking for examples of state, county, and local fees and costs to include with a proposal. Submit information at gfachamber.com/state-licenses-form/.

To learn more, contact Osborn at 248-919-6917 or connor@gfachamber.com; Cantor at 248-921-4864 or ljccan@gmail.com; or DDA Director Kate Knight, 248-474-5500, ext. 2214 or kknight@farmgov.com.

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