The City of Woodstock is implementing new measures to provide financial assistance to businesses for 2021.
While temporary measures had earlier been implemented to assist in the short term during the COVID-19 response, this broader plan is intended to assist businesses meeting certain criteria through a longer recovery period.
Assistant City Manager Coty Thigpen presented the plan to Woodstock City Council at the June 8 meeting.
Thigpen worked with CFO Ron Shelby, Community Development Director Brantley Day, Development Services Supervisor Delana Price, and Economic Development Director Brian Stockton to identify businesses that have helped to make Woodstock a regional destination, including restaurants, hotels, and small businesses.
In 2021, the City will waive business license fees for small businesses with gross revenues of $1 million or less. The $30 administrative fee will also be waived.
An exception to this threshold will be made for Woodstock’s seven hotels because of the major impact these businesses have on tourism and economic development, and the significant impact they experienced as a result of the pandemic. The annual regulatory fee of $250 for hotels will also be waived.
Woodstock restaurants were also severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and restrictions. Direct assistance will be provided through a $750 renewal discount to the 63 on-premise consumption alcohol licensees. Many will also receive assistance on their business license renewal. Additionally, the City will make permanent the temporary retail package license offered during the pandemic and will extend it at no cost to the restaurants.
“It was important to our mayor and council to develop a mechanism to provide direct assistance to the businesses throughout our city that were most heavily impacted by COVID-19,” said Thigpen.
Under the assistance plan, based on 2020 license renewals, the City estimates that over 60% of all businesses will pay $0 for their 2021 business license, and an average of $869 will be provided in assistance to each hotel. The total amount of fees to be waived under the program providing financial assistance to Woodstock businesses in 2021 is estimated at $162,392.
“When you think of Woodstock, there are many distinctive draws that bring people here including our network of parks and trails and our wonderful events, but our retailers and restaurants are part of that system as well, and so it was important to ensure we support the vibrancy that has become our identity as a city,” said Mayor Donnie Henriques.
The program will be approved by a resolution adopting an amended temporary fee schedule at the regular meeting of mayor and council on July 13.
Also, Independence Day celebrations in the City of Woodstock this year will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and Gov. Brian Kemp’s ban of large gatherings. The Independence Day schedule is being altered to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and state restrictions.
The Freedom Run has been postponed until fall 2020. A new date for the run will be announced soon. While the July 4th Spectacular Parade and Festival will not be held this year, the fireworks display in the area of Woodstock Square will continue as planned, beginning at dusk. Traffic plans can be found on the City’s social media sites.
For more information on City of Woodstock, please visit WoodstockGa.gov.