Contractors must pay local licensing fees wherever they do business along the Wasatch Front - even if they are based in a neighboring city, according to the state attorney general's office.

In an informal opinion Monday, Assistant Attorney General Neal T. Gooch said cities have the right to impose fees and taxes to cover the cost of regulating contractors and construction projects.Because the Wasatch Front is fragmented into many small cities and large unincorporated areas, contractors often complain of the trouble it takes to obtain licenses from each jurisdiction, said Mark Jones, administrative assistant to Gov. Norm Bangerter.

Jones sent a letter to the attorney general's office in May asking for the opinion.

Jones said he wants cities to work out agreements making it easier for contractors to obtain licenses. He said he will meet with the League of Cities and Towns to ask that cities develop ways of sharing information on contractors.

"We want to get cities and towns to do this voluntarily," he said. "We also don't want to take any revenue away from cities."

Most contractors do not complain about the fees, Jones said. The complaints revolve around the complicated process of qualifying for a license.

In the opinion, Gooch said, cities and counties have the constitutional authority to impose fees.