No Naples business license? A court date could be on the horizon

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Locally elected town officials say that a handful of businesses which have not applied for a business license are in violation of a town ordinance.

Now, the town plans to publish the names of the businesses in the area newspaper.

Slightly more than two months ago, the Town of Naples sent certified letters to the eight businesses (8) that have yet to obtain a $10 business license for 2022.

There has been absolutely no response to the certified letters, according to Naples Town Manager John Hawley.

Last week, Hawley asked the Naples Board of Selectmen for guidance going forward with resolving the violation infractions.

Chairman Jim Grattelo had an idea.

“My recommendation is to publish these eight in the newspaper. That is what I would do. That would be my next step. Let all the taxpayers in the Town of Naples know who is not paying,” Grattelo said.

“The next step is going to court, right? We would recoup our legal fees through the fines. So the town is not out any money,” Grattelo said.

He was referring to the fines of $100 a day that have been accruing since Sept. 15, when the certified letters were officially received.

“I’d say take the next step. Everyone else in town has paid” for a business license, he said.

Selectman Ted Shane calculated that as of Nov. 15, the fines would total $6,000.

“We have given everyone ample opportunity to do this. We even did a grace period back in June. But the ordinance does require they have a license, and these businesses don’t,” Hawley said.

Grattelo took the floor.

“The other businesses in town do. It is not fair to allow a handful of people not to,” he said.

Grattelo said the town should take the businesses to court.

Selectman Shane agreed.

“If that is what we said we are going to do, that is what we are going to do,” Shane said.

Two of the eight businesses are headquartered outside of Maine. Those are Pine Tree Waste, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, and Family Dollar, based in Illinois. Those two businesses have paid the Personal Property Tax bills but have failed to get a business license.

A third business based in Naples, Chute Insurance Agency, is up-to-date on its tax bill, but has not responded to the town’s request to get a business license.

The other five businesses that do not have a business license are: Dana Watson & Son Building Movers, E&W Auto Repair, JMG Construction, Phil’s Heavy Equipment Repairs and Smith’s Auto Body.

Another part of the Business License Ordinance requires businesses to be up-to-date on Personal Property Tax bills.

Earlier in the discussion, Hawley explained what had been done so far.

“Despite all of our efforts since the beginning of the year, there are eight (8) businesses that have refused to register, and are apparently unlicensed. Back on Sept. 15, we sent certified letters to all of these businesses on the list — letting them know that they were in violation and that as of that date, the fines were now $100 per day. As of today, these are still outstanding businesses that have not received the licenses,” Hawley said.

Grattelo asked about

“Pine Tree Waste and Family Dollar, which is a national chain. They are aware, and they are not paying their license,” he said.

Hawley responded, “We have sent certified notices, and they were all received.”

The paperwork associated with the 2022 business license violations indicated that town staff were “unable to locate the licensing authority” and there was “no response to communication” regarding Family Dollar and Pine Tree Waste.

There was a long moment of silence, which was broken by Grattelo saying, “So, we have sent them a notice.”

Hawley spoke

“We have made above and beyond the attempts to speak with these folks. [Administrative Assistant] Paula [Miller] has called them. We sent them regular mail letters on two occasions,” he said.

“This is all over $10,” Grattelo interjected.

“It’s a $10 license,” Hawley said.

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