Alisha Clayson came before the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety on June 15 requesting that the city review the fee schedule. She and her husband reside less than a mile outside of the city limits and operate a seasonal shaved ice business. Clayson sought more reasonable permit fees so they could employ their children to help with the family business. Currently, itinerant merchants not residing in the city limits must pay a $25 per person per day permit fee to operate within the city limits.
The matter was initially tabled by the B.O.W. However, during Monday night’s regular meeting of the Warsaw Common Council, city planner Jeremy Skinner presented a revised ordinance asking that fees be drastically reduced. The new fee schedule requires no fee for merchants who reside within the city limits, a $5 per person per day fee for those who reside in the county, a $50 per person per day fee for merchants who are residents of Indiana, and a $100 per person per day fee for anyone outside Indiana.
Skinner said the new fee schedule “is meant to accomplish two things: to give our business owners and residents an opportunity and flexibility to do business locally and to protect our businesses from outside vendors.”
Discussions of itinerant merchant fees actually began in December 2010, was presented to the council in 2011, and has in essence been tabled for over a year and a half. Last night, after about 30 minutes of discussion, the council finally moved toward a resolution.
While the revised ordinance was not approved last night, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer noted the council’s intent is to approve the ordinance when Skinner drafts a few corrections. Among those, Thallemer asked that it be made clear that persons selling in the farmers markets be exempt from the ordinance as they have to meet guidelines of those entities. It was also requested that the section dealing with penalties be made clear that violations found under the itinerant merchants ordinance not revoke any penalty fees that are already set in other city codes.
Given that the matter was again tabled pending the revisions, Clayson asked for a provisional permit to operate her shaved ice business for the rest of the fast dwindling season. Councilman Charlie Smith, who also serves on the B.O.W., asked Clayson to go before that board on Friday morning where they would vote on an exception while the ordinance is revised.
The Claysons have worked out a rental agreement with the owners of a now closed auto shop at the corner of Fort Wayne and Indiana streets and across from Center Lake Park. Snoballs Shaved Ice Concession plans to operate in the parking lot of the former business.