Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby said she was embarrassed last week after it came to light she’d forgotten to renew the business license for her clothing store, Vivala.
Missing a renewal date can happen to anyone. But as mayor, publicity around one’s missteps can be part of the pain and privilege of public office.
This looks like an innocent error made during a year in which Selby, then a City Council member, was busy running for election as mayor.
To renew her license late, Selby had to fork over $80 – the price for first-time permits – plus a $19 transaction fee. The cost is $30 for a timely renewal. Fines for violating the code can run up to $150.
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Selby said she does not know why she did not receive a renewal notice from the city. The Department of Revenue handles transactions and penalties related to business licensing for many cities.
Elected as a business-savvy official, the mayor has an opportunity to delve a little deeper into what’s awry in the city licensing system and recommend ways to make it better.
During the council’s meeting last week, local self-published writer Ellen Rice noted that she had to pay an $80 fee just to sell her books in the city, putting her cost at the same level as a large retailer.
It makes sense for the city to look at the license fee structure, too.