Village Council revisits itinerant vendor fees
- Published: April 7, 2023
At their most recent meeting on Monday, March 20, Village Council members discussed the merits of newly proposed legislation requiring vendors in the Village over the age of 17 to register and pay $50 annually.
The proposal is part of Council’s continued effort to increase revenues in order to reduce budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2023, and is a revised version of legislation that Council considered in December 2022.
Council President Brian Housh said the legislation would allow the village to work with the Regional Income Tax Authority, or RITA, to ensure vendors were paying income tax to the Village.
Village Manager Josué Salmerón said the Village is aware of “a number” of vendors who may not be filing the required tax documents; to pull those records, RITA needs a list of registered vendors from the Village.
Noting changes from the previous legislation, Salmerón said despite complaints from some villagers, this ordinance is narrower in scope and would not address contractors and other solicitors who sell their wares in the village.
“We’ve had several instances of contractors taking advantage of our citizens. We wanted a way to track those contractors and explain the rules and regulations,” Salmerón said. “We tried combining those two issues, but we found it would be better to keep those issues separate.”
Salmerón said passing the ordinance would allow the Village to penalize vendors at Street Fair who do not register through the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce.
“We estimate there are around 50 vendors who don’t come through the Chamber,” Salmerón said. “This piece of legislation would also give us the enforcement to require those vendors to register so we can know what business they are doing.”
Council member Marianne MacQueen said she was not comfortable with the idea of a regular vendor having to re-register every 30 days and pay a fee.
“It seems onerous,” she said.
Salmerón said the ordinance included two payment tiers, one where a vendor could register for 30 days and one where the vendor could register for a year.
“We did incorporate that feedback,” Salmerón said.
Council member Carmen Brown asked about the difference between registering with the Village and registering with the state of Ohio. She also asked how the Village would enforce tax payment for vendors on private property.
Salmerón said the vendor would have to create a tax account through RITA. After that, RITA would assist with filing their taxes. In response to Brown’s question about vendors on private property, Salmerón said that if a property owner allows a vendor to set up on their property, they should tell the vendor to register with the Village. In a follow-up email, Salmerón said vendor registration would not apply to villagers selling items at yard sales, but was focused on businesses who host vendors throughout the year and at special events.
Business owners Mark Heise and Alex Price offered comments about the legislation. Heise, who used to own a shop on Xenia Avenue, said the legislation didn’t go far enough.
“This ordinance is really a topside view,” Heise said. “It doesn’t get into the weeds.”
Heise went on to ask about vendor numbers, limitations to where vendors could set up, which he said the legislation does not address, and whether the legislation would apply to buskers.
Price, who owns Mills Park Hotel, said he wanted to see clearer language around penalties for vendors and private property owners who do not comply with the ordinance.
On the punitive side, [I would recommend] making it more equitable to other events that have vendor registrations,” Price said.
After hearing comments from business owners, Village Solicitor Amy Blankenship said the ordinance did not need to “speak to” where vendors could set up.
“That sounds like a much bigger conversation,” she said. “There’s probably a place to streamline that, but this ordinance isn’t it.”
Council will hear a second reading on this legislation at the Monday, April 3 meeting.
In other Council business, March 20:
• In a 4–1 vote Council passed an ordinance changing the amount of tax credit given to villagers who work in surrounding communities. Council member Gavin DeVore Leonard was the single ‘no’ vote.
• Council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing a fee schedule for the electric vehicle charging station located at the Bryan Center. Before the vote, Council member Marianne MacQueen said she would support the legislation, but would like to see the Village profit from the charging stations, which she said are mainly used by well-off people.
• Council passed an emergency reading of an ordinance that would allow the Village to join the Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council, or SOPEC, and to take the first steps to implement a natural gas aggregation program.
• Council heard a first reading of an ordinance that would raise fees by 15% for the Gaunt Park Pool for the 2023 swim season. According to Salmerón, the cost increase is due to inflation and increased staffing costs. If passed, daily passes will cost swimmers aged 4–17 and over 65 $6; swimmers aged 18–65 will pay $10. The cost for passes for families of five or fewer will cost $150 for village residents and $267 for families who live outside of the village.
Home, Inc. proposal
Council members discussed a $40,000 funding request from Home, Inc. to help build the first phase of The Cascades, which will include eight units of low- to moderate-income rentals for seniors. Council members discussed how the proposal would fit into the Village’s long-term affordable housing initiatives. A more in depth piece on affordable housing efforts in the village will appear in a future issue of the News.
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