Aberdeen Board Gets Look at New Signs
BY HANNAH SHARPE
The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners saw signs for a new Aberdeen at its work session Thursday evening.
Glen Nocik, of Nocik Designs and American Classic Signs in Concord, presented six preliminary brand designs to the board, based on recommendations and ideas submitted by town commissioners.
The board hopes to choose a design by Nocik as the new town emblem, which will be a part of a broader campaign to brand the town of Aberdeen.
The designs included three symbols: a crest depicting a train under a plaid banner reading "Aberdeen," a circular sign depicting a railroad crossing signal on a plaid background and a compass with an "A" in the middle.
The symbols were arranged with potential slogans, including "Destination Aberdeen," "Where to Shop in the Sandhills," "Let's Go, Small Town," "Urban Retail" and "Shop the Crossroads."
The commissioners suggested that Nocik find a way to combine two of the symbols - the crest with a train and the circular railroad signal design.
Nocik asked the board to continue providing feedback, but he assured members that the town is making progress.
"It's a multi-step process, but we'll get there," Nocik said. "The hard part's done."
In other business, the board also discussed switching to a gross-receipts format for annual fees paid to the town by Aberdeen businesses.
Aberdeen businesses currently pay a privilege license fee based on state-mandated rates. A change to fees based on a business's gross receipts would generate more revenue for the town from chain stores along U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501, such as Walmart and Best Buy.
The Internal Revenue Service defines gross receipts as the total amount of revenue that a business receives from all sources during its annual accounting period. This total does not subtract business costs or expenses for operation.
With the current privilege license fee system, chain stores and independent businesses sometimes pay the same amount to operate within the town limits.
Under the options that the board is considering, businesses would pay a fee every time they generate a certain amount of revenue.
Town Manager Bill Zell told the board that Walmart, which generates significant revenues annually, paid $567 to the town for its privilege license this past year. With one of the rates that the town is considering for gross receipts, Walmart could potentially pay the town more than $17,000 a year instead.
Zell assured the board that larger municipalities al-ready use gross receipts and that chain stores are used to paying higher fees to operate. He added that the town does not intend to let the switch become a detriment to independent businesses in Aberdeen.
"I want this to affect your Walmarts that pay this on a routine basis everywhere else," Zell said. "They just write a check. It's part of doing business."
The board is considering the change now so they can potentially collect gross receipts charges over the next fiscal year, which will begin July 1.
Commissioner Alan Parker stressed concern for the "mom-and-pop" businesses that have been successful enough to make a lot of money.
"I'm all for getting as much of the money as possible, but we have to be careful," Parker said. "We have to be careful not to make something that's detrimental to the other guys."
Mayor Betsy Mofield agreed, citing that some businesses operate on a small margin, but do well in sales. She suggested that the board cap the regular license tax at a higher amount so that chain stores will be the only businesses significantly affected.
Zell suggested that the town establish gross receipts for individual businesses by assessing profit margins and talking to business owners about expectations for the year ahead of them.
Mofield suggested letting new businesses start out on a flat rate and adjust fees based on gross receipts from their first year.
The commissioners will continue to discuss the change over the next few weeks as it begins going over next year's budget. The board has scheduled meetings on May 6 and May 13 to draft its final version.
Contact Hannah Sharpe by e-mail at email@example.com.
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