Russell relaxes fee, license schedules

The Russell County Commission extended the period businesses operating in the county can pay the new county business license fee and gross receipts tax. By a unanimous vote, the commission will now allow businesses an additional 60 days until Dec. 31 to pay the county fee. The state business license fee must still be paid by Oct. 1.

Contractor Jeff Trimback of Seale addressed the commission to voice displeasure about the lack of information about the business license and its effect prior to the Oct. 1 due date for the fee's payment.

Business owners have the month of October to pay the fee, which uses Phenix City's business license fee as a benchmark. The county fee is 75 percent of the Phenix City business license schedule.

All county businesses, including those in Phenix City and businesses based outside the county but operating in Russell, are required to pay the fee.

The commission set the license fee during its Sept. 11 meeting. Trimback said the renewal notice he received from the probate judge's office the last week of September did not prepare him for the sticker shock of finding out his new business license fee would be $1,100 rather than the $400 he paid last year.

"I feel the commission could have done a better job of communicating this to the business leaders of the community," Trimback said. "We should have been told the increase would not be a slight increase but a huge increase. It could have been better communicated."