|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commissioners don't reach consensus on fee

  • Three weeks ago, Leavenworth city commissioners said they had a consensus to move forward with a proposed $1,000 annual license fee for payday and title loan businesses. No action was ever taken on the proposed fee, and it now appears the fee won't be adopted.
    • email print
    • In other business
      When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners took up the following issues:

      They spoke with Jeremy Greenamyre of Greenamyre Rentals regarding the company's proposal f...
      » Read more
      X
      In other business
      When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners took up the following issues:
      They spoke with Jeremy Greenamyre of Greenamyre Rentals regarding the company's proposal for converting the former Carnegie Arts Center into an apartment building.
      They reviewed the proposed 2014 state legislative agenda for the city.
      They reviewed a timeline for distributing educational information to the public regarding a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase. They also reviewed some of the ways the information can be distributed to members of the public.
  • Three weeks ago, Leavenworth city commissioners said they had a consensus to move forward with a proposed $1,000 annual license fee for payday and title loan businesses. No action was ever taken on the proposed fee, and it now appears the fee won't be adopted.
    Commissioners discussed the proposed fee again Tuesday, and this time they failed to reach a consensus for moving forward.
    The most recent discussion came after Christin Raymos, who operates a local payday loan business in Leavenworth, expressed concerns Oct. 22 about the proposed fee. Raymos was on hand again for Tuesday's study session.
    Raymos had suggested last month there may legal issues related to the fee. City Attorney Tom Dawson said Tuesday that he reviewed a couple of court rulings Raymos had provided, but these cases didn't apply to the fee being proposed in Leavenworth.
    Dawson said he'd contacted officials from cities that have imposed similar fees, and these municipalities have faced no legal challenges. But he said there is potential for litigation related to such a fee.
    Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said he believed the intent of the proposed fee was to serve as a revenue source and also present a hurdle for other payday and title loan businesses that may come into the city.
    Preisinger said he believes the existing eight payday and title loan businesses in Leavenworth is a fair number for a city of its size.
    He suggested grandfathering in businesses that were operating in the city July 1. Any payday or title loan business that began operating in Leavenworth after July 1 would be subject to a $2,500 annual fee, or whatever amount commissioners determined.
    Commissioner Lisa Weakley suggested starting out with a $500 license fee instead of the proposed $1,000 fee.
    Commissioner Davis Moulden said there is a segment of society that needs the type of loans provided by the payday and title loan businesses. He questioned why the city doesn't also tax banks.
    Dawson said state law prohibits the city from doing that.
    Moulden said he's not in favor of a license fee for payday and title loan businesses.
    Commissioner Larry Dedeke said there are people who need the service provided by these businesses. He noted the businesses are now regulated by the state.
    Dedeke questioned what the city would be doing to justify a $1,000 fee.
    City Clerk Karen Logan said the city would be regulating the businesses. She said the city could, for example, impose restrictions regarding how close the businesses can be to each other.
    "I can agree with a fee but not to that extent," Dedeke said.
    Dedeke said he looked at it as picking on one type of business.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dawson said a lot of people are concerned about the interest rates charged by the businesses, but the state government has tried to make the rates more reasonable.
    "I know there's protection," he said.
    Raymos said the grandfathering of existing businesses or a fee ranging between $300 and $500 would be acceptable.
    "There's obviously a need for it because I do a lot of these every month," he said of payday loans.
    Logan pointed out that the city charges different fees for new massage establishments and ones that are renewing licenses. She suggested payday and title loan businesses each could be charged $500 for an initial license application and $250 for each renewal.
    City Manager Scott Miller said restrictions regarding how far apart payday and title loan businesses have to be from each other could limit how many additional businesses of that type come into the city.
    He suggested the businesses could be required to be a mile apart from each other. Existing businesses could be grandfathered in.
    "I would rather do the distance limitation," Weakley said.
    Dedeke said he can't go along with this idea unless the city imposes similar restrictions on other types of businesses.
    "We have no consensus here," Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said.
    Dedeke said he didn't think commissioners should be talking about the issue. He said the payday and title loan businesses aren't causing problems in Leavenworth, and the city isn't being overrun by them.
    "Leave them alone," he said.
    Miller later asked, for the record, if there was a consensus regarding moving forward with the fee. Commissioners answered, "No."
    Gasbarre said if a problem arises in the future, commissioners can discuss the issue again during a study session.
    While there was no consensus on the payday and title loan fee, Logan said she would prepare an proposed ordinance for a recommended $25 special event fee and $5 loud noise permit fee. Commissioners also previously discussed these recommended fees.
    Miller said he would like to have a four-hour time limit placed on the loud noise permits. Commissioners indicated there was a consensus for including a four-hour time limit.
    The ordinance will come back to commissioners for first consideration and possibly a vote.

        calendar