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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Concerns about payday fee, pig ordinance expressed

  • When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners heard from a business owner who raised objections to a proposed fee for payday loan establishments. Commissioners also heard from a resident who expressed concern about an ordinance that prohibits him from having a pet pig.
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  • When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners heard from a business owner who raised objections to a proposed fee for payday loan establishments. Commissioners also heard from a resident who expressed concern about an ordinance that prohibits him from having a pet pig.
    In both cases, commissioners likely will discuss the issues again during study sessions.
    Christin Raymos addressed commissioners about a proposed $1,000 annual city license fee for payday and title loan businesses.
    Commissioners discussed the proposal last week but have not yet voted on it.
    Raymos, who operates a payday loan business in Leavenworth, said he pays considerably more than $2,500 to the state. This amount was cited during last week's meeting as what is charged for a state license for payday loan business.
    Raymos said his state license fee is based on loan volume. He also said he's audited twice a year through the office of the state bank commissioner. This costs him an additional $1,500.
    Raymos agreed that other cities in Kansas already are charging license fees to payday loan business. But he said most in the area are charging less than $1,000. He acknowledged that Overland Park charges $1,000, but he said that city has 82 payday loan businesses to regulate. Leavenworth currently has six.
    Raymos questioned where the money from the fee would go.
    City Manager Scott Miller said it would go into the city's general fund.
    Raymos argued there is court precedent in Kansas that would require the money to be used in relation to regulation of payday loan business.
    If the money goes into the general fund, it would be an illegal tax, he said.
    Raymos said he provided City Attorney Tom Dawson with case law to support his argument.
    "I'll let Mr. Dawson review that," he said.
    Raymos also said his business has the same type of license that hangs on the walls other financial institutions in the state. He questioned whether the new $1,000 fee would apply to these other institutions or just payday loan businesses.
    Commissioner Larry Dedeke said he thinks the issue needs to brought back to the commission during a study session.
    Miller said he will get a legal opinion about the issue. He said if Raymos' argument is correct, it may not need to be brought back.
    "We'll probably bring it back to a study session," Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said.
    Rick Donnelson addressed commissioners about an ordinance that doesn't permit him to own a pig. Donnelson said he lives on a nine-acre parcel of land at Lakeview Drive and McDonald Road.
    He said he is allowed by ordinance to have animals such as horses and goats on the property. But the rules don't allow for pigs. And he's been cited for having a miniature pot belly pig, which he said is a pet.
    Page 2 of 2 - "He watches TV with a us," Donnelson said. "He's a very sweet animal."
    Donnelson said he was scheduled to appear in Leavenworth Municipal Court Thursday on the matter.
    Miller said commissioners could amend the existing ordinance to allow pigs.
    In the meantime, Dawson said, the case that's pending against Donnelson can be dismissed. The city attorney would still have the option of re-filing it in the future.
    Also at the end of the Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Davis Moulden said he was not happy with the selection of Gary Birch as the city's new fire chief.
    City officials announced Birch's selection Monday.
    Birch, who will officially begin his new job Thursday, comes to Leavenworth after serving with other departments including the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department and the Liberty, Mo., Fire Department.
    Moulden complained the city had two previous failures with chiefs who had been hired from outside the department.
    "I think this is as wrong as it can be," Moulden said.
    Miller, who hired the new chief, didn't respond to Moulden's remarks.
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