HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Numerous businesses in the City of Hazleton were cited for not renewing their license for the new year, however, the number of citations issued has dropped significantly from last year to this year, officials say.

According to Hazleton City Code Enforcement Supervisor Diane Panzarella, every Hazleton business must pay $140 to have a license to operate, which is required to be renewed every year. It costs $100 for the initial license and $40 for an inspection fee.

Panzarella says when the business owner pays the renewal fee for their license, they receive a sticker with the current year to put in the window, proving their business license is current and valid.

“We send notices out on November 1 to remind owners they must renew their business license for the upcoming year. Around January 1 or 2, a second notice is sent to those who haven’t paid for their renewal yet and if we haven’t received their renewal payment by January 31, a citation is issued,” explained Panzarella.

Panzarella says they will usually give the businesses a day or two of leniency to get their payments in, just in case the payment was mailed or there were harsh weather-related traveling conditions.

“We don’t like to cite people, we truly don’t. We’d rather them just pay and get their license renewal because it saves both the county and the business owner time and resources,” Panzarella added.

According to Panzarella, if a business fails to renew its license, it faces up to $500 in restitution, fines, and court costs. But diligence is key as the businesses cited last year, were the first in line to pay their renewal fee this year.

“Even though we had to send them out again this year for failure to pay, the number of citations sent out this year has dropped exponentially, from around 250 to about 40,” Panzarella continued.

As Panzarella stated, the system the city has in place seems to be working as the number of businesses issued citations in 2023 dropped significantly from 2022.