Craig Weber - Public Comment at City Council Sept 12th 2023

I am here today to appeal to council, that you ask city staff to review the checklists and procedures relating to new business licenses, permits, and building inspections for new businesses. The City Manager and I have previously discussed this and I am sure that he’ll be working on it.  I wanted to see that it was made part of official record, I believe we should be doing everything we can to remove barriers for entrepreneurs and new small business owners here in Hartsville. We need to streamline the process, provide potential businesses with a straightforward list of what will be required, and in what order, to make it as easy as possible for new businesses to navigate the processes to get up and running. I have spoken to several business owners and understand there is some frustration around these processes currently. Of course I want to recognize all of the hard-working individuals in these city departments, as I have always been welcomed and found everyone to be helpful in my interactions. However, I believe it will be helpful for council to see what is needed for folks that are starting a new business here, in a clear and concise format, so that you all can ensure there are no unnecessary barriers or areas that can be improved to encourage small business growth in Hartsville. I think this will be a great way to understand the communication flow between city departments that interact within these processes so there are no unnecessary delays in getting business owners approved and up and running, as quickly and safely as possible. It will also help council to understand other related costs not charged by the city but related to requirements at a city & state level, so the entire cost burden for new businesses is clear when deciding on business license fees. I think a great first step would be to have an anonymous survey sent out to all new business licenses and permits in the last year and solicit feedback.

I sincerely appreciate your time this evening and thank you for your service on Council to the residents of Hartsville.