Business registry open for business

Leslie Silverman
With a new year comes new laws and Hill City is no exception to that. The municipality has enacted its first Business Registration Ordinance, which went into effect at the beginning of 2022. 
This is a new requirement of businesses in town. By the ordinance definition a business is “any enterprising organization, whether sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other legally recognized entity, engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activity for the purpose of producing or otherwise acquiring goods and/or services to sell for profit or charitable benefit.” 
Basically, if an organization or enterprise in Hill City collects sales tax it is now required to register with the city.
“Any businesses requiring a state of SD tax ID number will be required to register even if they operate out of their homes,” said  Hill City Development Services administrator Dani Schade.
For this first year of implementation, that registration is free as long as it takes place prior to Dec. 31. Registrations taking place after Dec. 31 will require a $25 fee.
Registration forms will be available on the City of Hill City website under the government/forms tab. 
The new registration ordinance was met with some resistance from business owners who felt the city already knew who was doing business where and how to contact owners. But city officials vehemently stated that the registration is a safety concern, a means of contacting business owners quickly in case there is an emergency. In fact, the city spent considerable resources during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to notify different types of businesses about proper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol.
“There were different rules from the CDC for retail then there were for restaurants,” said Schade, who added “and not everyone is on the code red system.”
The new business registration allows the business community and the city to work together. It also allows new business owners to know the rules in town. 
“The registration requirement will allow the city to inform new businesses about what is and isn’t allowed per our city codes,” she said.
As Hill City grows, business owners new to the community might not be familiar with city regulations.
“Many times a business will move into a rented space, start conducting business and find out their signage is not allowed, or that they are conducting business in the wrong zoning,” Schade said.  
The registration form includes information such as the business name and address, contact information for the business owner or person in charge, a description of the business and the  business’ state sales tax identification number.  This information will not be made public. Businesses that have no changes to information yearly will be able to merely send an email to the city stating as much.
Penalties for failing to register a business go up incrementally. However city officials stress this is not a means to collect more money or fees from businesses.
“It’s a way to respond faster during emergencies,” said Schade, as well as a means in a fast growing community of knowing who is doing business and where.

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