Retailers in Montgomery County will get financial relief next year in a fee they pay to operate.

The fee for a trader’s license — which the state requires for retailers — was usually between $15 and $800, depending on the value of a business’s inventory.

The County Council unanimously voted on Sept. 29 to drop the fee to a uniform amount of $15, starting next year.

In 2019, the Maryland General Assembly changed state law to let jurisdictions reduce the fee to $15. The Circuit Court collects the fee, and the state and county shared in the fee revenues. Under the new measure the county has approved, the state will keep all fee revenues.

Council Member Andrew Friedson has said that most businesses in the county pay between $150 and $350 for the fee.

“I hope this is just one of many examples as we continue our work to look at ways that we can eliminate bureaucratic red tape, unnecessary regulations that were put in place in the mid-1800s for merchants that are no longer relevant to our modern economy,” he said on Sept. 29. “And also to save costs, however large and however modest, for businesses, so that they can compete locally.”

Council Member Evan Glass said it was a challenging year for small businesses, and the “modest” legislation would help them save money.

“Modest is certainly the word, but we’re doing something,” he said. “It’s just yet another effort of county government stepping up and streamlining our processes and procedures to fit the modern time.”

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.