COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The handling of business licenses has come into question in recent city council meetings. Following a motion by City Councilor Joanne Cogle, the City Manager’s office presented council with a business license update from the finance director, Angelica Alexander.
Councilor Joanne Cogle made a motion for the City Manager to provide an executive summary of issues in the finance department of revenue division related to business licenses. Angelica Alexander the Finance Director for the city presented council saying, inconsistent staffing levels coupled with inexperienced staff, reduced efficacy in the licensing renewal process along with checks being cashed late.
“Issue in terms of checks not being deposited timely, some checks did become stale dated… but the lack of experienced personnel and the lack of personnel period did contribute to this issue.”Angelica Alexander, Finance Director – Columbus Consolidated Government
A new business licensing software was implemented on April 2021 but they have seen issues with it.
“Productivity has declined because we experience performance issues such as buffering and it just takes more time to complete a renewal.”Angelica Alexander, Finance Director – Columbus Consolidated Government
Over the course of 3 years, annual courtesy and delinquent notices were never sent out to businesses in Columbus and now it has all piled up.
“We failed to file those protocols, to not issue those annual courtesy notices for 2020, 2021 and 2022.”Angelica Alexander, Finance Director – Columbus Consolidated Government
Those delinquent notices have now been sent out dating back to 20-20 and have been passed on to Code Enforcement. The Finance department has been approved for overtime to complete pending license renewals.
“Were having to chase them down, knock on their doors to say you can not operate a business in Columbus Georgia without a license. We either cite them to come to court or shut them down. So that’s what we’re doing.”Isaiah Hughley – City Manager, Columbus City Council
After concerns were raised involving the handling of business licenses in Columbus. An internal audit investigation being handled by the Atlanta law firm Troutman Pepper is underway.