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City looking into business licenses

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is hoping to work through outdated and inaccurate records of business licenses with software already in the city’s inventory that it has not been using.

Mayor Butch Brown said the city has discovered a piece of software that was used years ago to track business licenses but has since not been utilized, and the city is implementing the software again to be used in conjunction with its current Springbrook accounting software.

The implementation of the software should be complete this week, Brown said.

“Rather than buying a new piece of software, we’re just going to use this software that we already have,” he said. “We will find a package that will work. We are going to get a handle on who is current on their business license and permits.”

A list of businesses that reportedly did not have business licenses provided by the city clerk’s office showed at least several businesses that in fact do have valid business licenses.

Brown said because the city’s records are not accurate, it is difficult to pinpoint which businesses do not have licenses.

“The people that were supposed to be doing that are no longer employed by the city, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

The city has charged Pam Patterson in the city’s purchasing department with updating the city’s records of business licenses.

When Brown informed the Natchez Board of Aldermen of the problem tracking business licenses in September, he said he had done some of the leg work of finding out which businesses had licenses.

Brown said Walmart was listed as not having a business license, but he said the store had actually applied and paid for a license, and the city never provided the license.

Brown also made calls to local doctors, lawyers, Realtors and other business people making sure they had business licenses and asking them to spread the word to their colleagues.

A problem in the past, Brown said, is that the city has done a poor job of notifying businesses that they need to annually renew their licenses.

“It’s our obligation to notify people,” he said. “That hasn’t been being monitored and administered properly, and we’re changing that.”