Need to know

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Being able to know what you have is a fundamental, good management tool.

And if there’s one thing Decatur County Administrator Tom Patton wishes he could learn more about for the good of the county, it is the number of businesses operating in the county.

Each municipality—the cities of Bainbridge, Brinson, Climax and Attapulgus—require those wanting to operate a business within their city limits to apply for an occupational license.

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Want to open a business in Decatur County?

Go for it.

The county doesn’t require you notify it.

The only time Decatur County may become aware of that business is if they run counter to the county’s nuisance law; or only a restaurant, hotel or motel wanting to serve alcoholic beverages are required to obtain an occupational certificate.

And if Patton wanted to get an accurate picture of the amount of sales taxes the county is entitled to, he couldn’t get it.

The Georgia Department of Revenue will not give Patton a detailed picture of the county’s sales tax collection because he has no idea the number or nature of businesses collecting sales tax and if they are even paying it.

The county commission needs to institute a county occupational license with a good enforcement mechanism. It doesn’t need to be costly or cumbersome, but there needs to be an accounting.