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Dukart suggests Dickinson business license to create registry

As Dickinson grows, so does its need for new businesses. Luckily, there are many coming to town to fill that need.

With so many incoming commercial ventures, Commissioner Shirley Dukart suggested creating a city business license to keep a registry of all establishments in the city during Monday's City Commission meeting.

"The new businesses that are coming here into Dickinson are the ones that ask me why we don't charge a business license fee because that would give them -- they could go online to see who all the businesses are in Dickinson rather than just the chamber members," she said.

A business is required by law to register with the Secretary of State's office, said Sue Rask, administrative staff officer with the Secretary of State's office in Bismarck.

"In order to transact business, they need to register the business in our office, not necessarily license," she said.

There are many types of businesses and partnerships that can be registered in the state, she said. Businesses wishing to practice here, whether originating in North Dakota or elsewhere, need to register.

The Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce does represent many area businesses, but it is voluntary to join, executive director Cooper Whitman said.

"We invite them to come to the chamber and chat with us and see if what we can do for them is something they're interested in," he said.

In the three months Whitman has been at the chamber, 28 businesses have joined, he said. There are 528 members of the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

Constituents who had spoken with Dukart were also worried about the legitimacy of a business, she said.

The chamber doesn't verify the legitimacy its members, Whitman said.

"I don't know any fake business that would just throw around that kind of money" for chamber dues, he said.

Some municipalities in North Dakota do require some, if not all, businesses to register or be licensed with the city, Rask said.

"If the city requires it, it's on top of anything that we do," she said.

The city has discussed the idea of a business license in the past, but it was voted down by the commission, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.

Commission President Dennis Johnson worried about the added cost to businesses at Monday's meeting.

"Why should an existing business have to pay a fee so you can track who's here?" he asked. "We pay so many fees already, why another fee?"

The license could be helpful for zoning purposes, City Planner Ed Courton said.

"The reason for that is to deal with the zoning issues," he said. "When you have multiple tenants that come in and out, they rarely check with the city to see if that's a permitted use or what they need to do."

The discussion was tabled for a later date.

For more information about state business licenses visit

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206