The City of Woodstock is implementing measures to provide financial assistance to businesses for 2021. While temporary measures were implemented to assist businesses during the COVID-19 response in the short term, this broader plan will help businesses meeting certain criteria through a longer recovery period.

Assistant City Manager Coty Thigpen presented the plan to Woodstock City Council at their June 8th meeting. Thigpen worked with CFO Ron Shelby, Community Development Director Brantley Day, Development Services Supervisor Delana Price, and Economic Development Director Brian Stockton to identify businesses including restaurants, hotels and small businesses that have helped to make the City of Woodstock a regional destination.

The City of Woodstock collects business license fees based on gross revenues. Business license fees will be waived in 2021 for small businesses with gross revenues of $1 million and under. The $30 administrative fee will also be waived.

An exception to this threshold will be made to include Woodstock’s seven hotels because of the major impact these businesses have on tourism and economic development and due to the significant impact they experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual regulatory fee of $250 for hotels will also be waived.

Restaurants in the City of Woodstock were also heavily impacted. Direct assistance will be provided through a $750 renewal discount to the 63 on-premise consumption alcohol licensees. Many will also receive assistance on their business license renewal. Additionally, the City will make permanent the temporary retail package license offered during the pandemic and will extend it at no cost to the restaurants.

Under the assistance plan:

Based on 2020 License renewals, the City estimates that over 60% of all businesses will pay $0 for their 2021 business license

An average of $869 will be provided in assistance to each hotel

The total amount of fees to be waived under the program providing financial assistance to Woodstock businesses in 2021 is estimated at $162,392.

“It was important to our Mayor and Council to develop a mechanism to provide direct assistance to the businesses throughout our city that were most heavily impacted by Covid-19,” said Assistant City Manager Coty Thigpen. Mayor Donnie Henriques echoed, “When you think of Woodstock, there are many distinctive draws that bring people here including our network of parks and trails and our wonderful events, but our retailers and restaurants are part of that system as well, and so it was important to ensure we support the vibrancy that has become our identity as a city.”

The program will be approved by a resolution adopting an amended temporary fee schedule at the Regular Meeting of Mayor and Council on July 13th.