THE Lapu-Lapu City Treasurer’s Office is extending office hours in the next two weeks as thousands of business owners are expected to renew their permits or apply for one.

City Hall personnel will process permit renewal and application from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

The processing started yesterday and will run until Jan. 20. The City established a “one-stop shop” for business permit processing at the entrance of City Hall.

Assistant City Treasurer Felicitas Baguio said they expect 13,000 businesses this year. Last year, the City registered 11,000.

Baguio said the City will impose a penalty this year on business owners who operate without a permit and other required clearances.

The penalty ranges from P500 to P5,000 depending on the gross sales of the business establishment.

“It is the first time we are imposing the penalty because we notice that many establishments are not complying,” she said in a news conference yesterday.

Baguio said the City will also impose a penalty for late tax payments, which is 25 percent of the tax due, after the renewal and application of new permit elapses.

Executive Secretary Rolando Duero said the City may use the Hoops Dome to accommodate the surge of clients, if the need arises.

For now, processing is done in the City Hall lobby. Baguio said up to 500 clients can be accommodated every day.

“The reason we are extending office hours for the renewal and processing of new business permits is that the mayor doesn’t want business owners to bear the burden of penalties,” Duero said.

With the 8 p.m. extension on weekdays, Duero said business owners who are kept from going to City Hall because of their 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule won’t have a problem.