Volume 105, Number 35 - August 28, 2008
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Town Council tables licenses
The Pinedale Town Council met on Monday in front of a packed audience, most of whom were eager to discuss the proposed ordinance that would require licenses for all town businesses.
According to ordinance 440, all businesses operating in Pinedale would be required to obtain a business license from Town Hall for $15. The ordinance would take effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and require the business to renew the license each subsequent year.
If a business fails to acquire a business license or fails to renew the license, a written notice will be sent within 30 days of delinquency. After 60 days, a $75 penalty will be issued before the license may be reissued.
As soon as the second reading of the ordinance was scheduled to be discussed, Forest Wakefield of the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce asked to address the council. “We’re requesting that the town table ordinance 440,” Wakefield said. “Our members have a lot of questions concerning both the need of the ordinance and the potential enforcement of the ordinance.”
“I agree with you completely,” Mayor Stephen Smith replied. “I’ve gotten four letters in writing and numerous phone calls…not necessarily opposed but just a little bit confused. People want more details about some of the things we talked about.”
“How many folks are here to complain about the ordinance?” Dave Smith asked. The majority of hands in the audience of two dozen shot up.
Questions concerning the ordinance revolved around a number of issues.
For some in the audience, people in the community who operate businesses out of their homes would pose challenges to the equal enforcement of the ordinance.
“I know for a fact that people are doing catering out of their home or cutting hair out of their home,” said Mayor Smith. “And we would never know about it, so we’re losing sales tax revenue. So I think we need to have some sort of regulation to make sure those businesses are paying proper sales tax…otherwise they’re cheating the community and all of you and all of us.”
Some in the audience also voiced their opposition to the new license, particularly in light of the other licenses many businesses are already required to have. As they said, this ordinance could prove to be just another burden to the business owner.
Others also questioned the council’s rationale that it was simply trying to assure that all businesses in town are paying the appropriate sales taxes, which some insisted was the responsibility of the state of Wyoming, not local government.
Many also predicted an increase in the cost of the license in coming years, concluding that a bureaucracy never shrinks and only grows.
“I understand the concerns that you don’t want it,” said Mayor Smith. “But there’re also really good arguments nationwide why business licenses are good, not just for local governments but for local business.”
A few in the audience who own businesses in Pinedale were also concerned that because they do not live in Pinedale, their voice could not be heard.
Some also wondered if itinerant merchants could be the sole focus of any new ordinance, rather than all the established businesses already here.
“They’re all good questions,” said Mayor Smith. “And I think that’s why we need to table it tonight and get back together.”
The mayor scheduled a workshop for the ordinance to be discussed on Sept. 8, at the beginning of the next Town Council meeting.
“Frankly, if the community decides they don’t want it overwhelmingly,” said Mayor Smith. “Then the town is not obligated to pass it.”
— Centerpoint LLC was denied its request for a building permit to begin construction of a hotel consisting of log cabins at the block 1 triangle addition, adjacent to Haystack and Canal Street.
This is the third time it has come before the board seeking a building permit and the third denial by the council, resulting in frustration for builder Jim Engstrom.
Drainage has been the largest issue plaguing the project, and Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie acknowledged that the most recent site plans by the engineering firm have addressed those issues.
But the council remained unwilling to allow building to begin until the drainage issue is resolved.
The builder said he is not willing to pay the $301,000 necessary to improve the town streets of Haystack and Canal, due to the fact that those streets are the town’s responsibility and would be benefiting more than just his business.
Town Attorney Ed Wood was willing to draft a liability agreement, which would cover the town in the event of any future flooding on the property, but the council still refused to issue the building permit.
— Following the Joint Powers Board meeting on Friday, $165,000 in funds will be transferred to the Town Council to finance the purchase of a ladder fire truck.
“Not just the town, but the whole county’s going to need (the fire truck),” said Mayor Smith.
— Trout Unlimited requested that 4,800 acre feet of the town’s water supply be released into Pine Creek to foster fish propagation and enhance recreational opportunities of the creek.
The spawning season for trout is approaching, and the water level of the creek is unusually low. The town granted the request, which will put more water into the creek over the next few months.
— Department heads of the town also gave their monthly report.
Public works received its order of sodium silicate to replenish its supply at the water treatment facility. It is still working to remove the sludge from the facility, which the landfill is willing to accept. It was also asked to expedite the surface repairs on Hwy. 191 and Country Club Lane.
The Engineering Department reported that the Town Hall addition is 95 percent complete, though still awaiting carpeting. Phase I of the water project has had a setback though Phase III is continuing as scheduled.
The Beneficial Water Usage Study has also been approved for the Town. And it was also recommended that the zoning code be updated.
The Airport Board asked that $141,206 be given to it after a miscommunication occurred that left it short of its budgetary needs. The runway and taxiway project is almost complete and awaiting seeding and repainting.
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