HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany ‘business registry’? Council is split

Written October 25th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Councilor Bessie Johnson, top center, questions Seth Sherry, bottom center, about his ideas for an Albany business registry during Wednesday’s council session on Zoom.

Whether Albany will start a registry of local businesses is still undecided after Monday’s work session of the city council.

Council members Ray Kopczynski and Marilyn Smith love the idea. Matilda Novak hates it unless it’s completely voluntary. Bessie Johnson and Dick Olsen sound skeptical, and Stacey Bartholomew wants more information on how it would work.

Mayor Alex Johnson II, meanwhile, would like Seth Sherry, the economic development manager who brought up the idea, to come back with a proposal in November or December.

Sherry had broached the notion of a business registry with the council last summer. He says having a list of local  employers, the nature of their businesses, and their contact information would have many benefits for the city as well as the enterprises listed.

Chief among them would be the city’s ability to reach out to businesses during emergencies such as the Covid pandemic, when the city had a hard time reaching firms to tell them about the grants and other forms of aid available to them.

The details of any registry are undetermined so far.

Novak says she can’t support it unless signing up is completely voluntary. But for a completely voluntary effort, the city staff would not need council action. It could just invite anyone with a business to submit contact information.

Also unclear — or undecided — is how much a business would have to pay to be included, or whether indeed a fee would be charged at all.

Sherry says he does not envision a license for the right to do business in town. But if signing up ends up being required, it would amount to a license anyway.

Would information on the list be public? Answering a question, Sherry said he envisions it to be restricted for internal use by city staff. No one asked let alone answered this question: Under what section of the Oregon Public Records Law would the names or other information on the registry be exempt from public disclosure?

(For a complete rundown of what everybody said, check the work session’s recording on the city’s Facebook page.)

So, a lot of unanswered questions. But since the mayor wants this topic to come back to the council by December, Albany businesses might get an answer before the end of the year. (hh)





17 responses to “Albany ‘business registry’? Council is split”

  1. hj.anony1 says:

    Looks D.O.A. to me. DOA

    We have “sounds skeptical” and HATE it from this report.

    We do need to know SS’s true intentions here!!!

    Maybe Bartholomew is gaining experience and will run for Mayor in the future?

    Happy Halloween!

  2. HowlingCicada says:

    “””Novak says she can’t support it unless signing up is completely voluntary. But for a completely voluntary effort, the city staff would not need council action. It could just invite anyone with a business to submit contact information.”””

    If that’s the way it’s done, I predict the sign-up rate will be too low for the list to be useful.

  3. T.O. says:

    Speaking as a small business owner here in Albany, I am tired of overreaching government & massive corporations attempting to eliminate our privacy and force our hand. No matter how insignificant a registry may seem, we have given up too much already. Time for someone to stand up and say no. Thank you, Councilor Novak and anyone else who will join her!

  4. Amanda says:

    Why not just use the Oregon SOS database to keep track of businesses in the area. The information exists and we’re already required to pay. Why another hoop? How about a voluntary database with some incentive for businesses instead? Stop beating us to death with a stick, and instead offer a carrot. Why does Albany hate businesses so much?

  5. Bob Woods says:

    “Stop beating us to death with a stick, and instead offer a carrot. Why does Albany hate businesses so much?”

    Seriously? When was the last time a city staffer hit you with a stick? The answer is, of course, never.

    You people aren’t happy unless you are attacking the people you live with. They’re your neighbors. They’re not evil.

    And as for “Albany hates businesses so much”. Get a grip and understand that your manufactured outrage is about …. nothing.

  6. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    A secret database of private business info restricted only for internal use by city staff?

    Yeah, that sounds like a winner.

    And if this proposal includes a tax or “fee”, then call it for what it really is – a way to raise revenue.

    And that should be referred to voters for approval.

    Just say PU to this stinky idea.

  7. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    One last comment – you mentioned that a requirement to sign up amounts to a business license. Very true.

    And requiring a city license to do business in Albany means making a living is no longer a right.

    Making a living would become a city granted privilege. You must get city permission first.

    But a privilege granted by the city means the city can also take it away.

    For a case study, look at what disgraced Gov. Cuomo of New York tried to do by threatening to strip bars and restaurants of their license if they didn’t enforce the Gov’s social distancing and mask mandates.

    It’s a slippery slope. One Albany shouldn’t even consider.

  8. Francois DeLacroix says:

    If a registry is needed, perhaps the phone book could provide the needed information: phone #, address.

  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    …..”Council members Ray Kopczynski and Marilyn Smith love the idea. Matilda Novak hates it unless it’s completely voluntary. Bessie Johnson and Dick Olsen sound skeptical, and Stacey Bartholomew wants more information on how it would work.”….

    Two people that want to extract every cent possible from any source, one businessperson that says NOT ME, and the rest going HUH?

  10. Enough says:

    Just another way for our local government to rake in more money. Just like selling our peace and tranquility to try and expand the city into the next Portland. You’d be hard pressed to find a local citizen who move to Albany to live in a “big” city.
    ENOUGH with this expansion!

  11. TLH-ALB1 says:

    Just say….NO!!
    Not needed and Unnecessary bureaucratic redundancy…
    Possibly for future taxation (er um…fees)…maybe??

    FYI…not all businesses operating in the State of Oregon or cities are registered with the SOS. The SOS is the first and only place this kind of information should be kept.

 

 
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