Businesses in Woodstock are now required to register with the city

Online, home-based businesses included

People shop Thursday, June 16, 2022, on the historic Woodstock Square. Construction on Dean Street and the new roundabout at the intersection of South Street, Madison Street and Lake Avenue has created some issues for some local businesses. A few businesses, particularly on the Square, are worried about the effect the work will have on their business this year and next year.

Businesses in Woodstock soon must register online with the city.

All businesses with a presence within the city limits will be required to register, including home-based and online businesses.

The City Council has approved an ordinance requiring businesses to register annually with the city. There is no fee for registering, unless a business registers after May 1 each year. The city will levy a $50 fine on those businesses that don’t register, according to Woodstock documents. May 1 also is the liquor license renewal date.

Mayor Mike Turner said the program is new, but has been “under discussion for multiple years.” He added that there was discussion of the program before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New businesses will have three months from the day they open to register online, according to city documents.

The initiative is related to the city’s rollout of the OpenGov system, which is a cloud-based government portal designed to help streamline processes such as getting a building permit. City documents state as part of that program, Woodstock was planning to have businesses create an online account, and city staff recommended requiring businesses to register every year.

Some of the benefits of this program include keeping people from entering repetitive information into a form; quicker communications from Public Works about boil orders and hydrant flushing, among other things; and outreach to new businesses in town, according to city documents.

Businesses in the city will have to include information on the form such as address and size of business buildings, what type of business they are and if they plan to sell, expand or close in the next year, according to city documents.

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a webinar Jan. 31 to discuss the change, and city documents noted no strong opposition was raised to the idea at that event.

Existing businesses will need to register within six months for this calendar year, while new businesses have three months from opening day to register.