A measure to establish penalties for Georgetown business owners who fail to acquire a town license is coming down the pike.

A measure to establish penalties for Georgetown business owners who fail to acquire a town license is coming down the pike.

At its Sept. 25 regular meeting, the Georgetown Town Council conducted a first reading of an ordinance to amend the Town Code to include penalties for failure to obtain a business license.

“There was a business in town that did not have a business license for 10 years and we honestly believe they did not know they needed to have one,” said Mayor Mike Wyatt. “With that being said, Councilwoman [Linda] Dennis wanted something brought in that would put some teeth in the ordinance, making the statement that if you knowingly [operate without a license], you’re going to have to pay the back license fees.”

The measure stems from a recent case involving Shades of Beauty, a small salon on Bridgeville Road owned and operated by Clara Evans out of her single-family home. Evans said she did not know she needed to consult with the town, as she has held a state business license since her shop opened 10 years ago.

The ordinance under consideration states that any business owner operating without a license – including circumstances where a license has expired, been suspended or revoked – will be required to pay all applicable fees as though a license had been issued during the period of unlicensed activity.

During an Aug. 28 public hearing regarding Evans’ application, the council discussed whether Evans should have to pay back fees to cover the last 10 years, but ultimately decided against it. Based on business license fees set in the Town Code, Evans would have owed the town $780 had the council voted to make her pay the back fees.

“We’ll just call it a misunderstanding,” said Councilman Steve Hartstein at the Aug. 28 hearing.

The council will conduct a second reading of the measure at its Oct. 9 regular meeting.

Also at the meeting, Georgetown Police Department Chief Bill Topping presented a report outlining incident responses that occurred between June 13 and Sept. 25. Topping noted a recent rash of car thefts, which fall under the “burglary” category in his report.

“These are thefts of opportunity where people have left their car unlocked in their driveways and somebody goes by, opens up the door and takes whatever is inside,” he said.

The report lists 21 burglaries, which are not all car thefts. A recent news release from the Georgetown Police Department states about 15 car thefts have occurred in the town throughout the last month and a half.

The most prominent incident type in Topping’s report was property checks, totaling 174. There were also 84 public assists and 83 business alarm calls.

“I think it’s worth noting that our police department is checking businesses and properties in Georgetown and they are assisting people,” Wyatt said. “Everybody hears about the bad stuff; this is the good stuff that nobody hears about.”