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Business license round 2?

It looks like some type of business license ordinance may again come before the McCreary County Fiscal Court, two years after the first attempt at one failed to pass a first reading.

During Thursday night’s meeting, Magistrate Jason Mann revisited the core concept of the business license, calling for what he called the “M3 ordinance,” referring to the number of resellers setting up in the parking lot of the old convenience store location in Whitley City.

Mann said he was not against anyone having a yard sale, but wanted some form of law prohibiting someone from setting up a flea market on private property without permission from the business or property owner.

There have been numerous complaints, Mann stated, about the traffic issues around the particular location.

He also noted some of the vendors setting up sell similar merchandise only a few hundred yards away from an established business, Mega Deals. That business, and others like it, pay occupational and sales taxes on their businesses, while the vendors down the road do not, creating an unfair advantage for them.

Judge Executive Doug Stephens agreed with the idea in principal, but suggested the concept should be broader and more far-reaching to cover more than just flea market vendors – harkening back to a previous attempt to pass a business license ordinance.

“I like competition, but it needs to be on a level ground,” Stephens said.

Exactly two years ago a similar proposal was brought before the Fiscal Court in the form of a business license ordinance.

The Chamber of Commerce drafted and supported the ordinance, but strong and vocal opposition from citizens and some business owners was apparently enough to dissuade the Fiscal Court from taking the issue forward.

While the Court did agree with the need for some form of ordinance restricting “yard sales” where people set up on abandoned businesses and sell pallet goods, they were against proposed fees ranging from $25 for established businesses and a $75 fee for “itinerant” businesses, such as vendors selling in a flea market environment.

The first reading of the ordinance was tabled without enacting, and has not been brought before the Court since then.

It is yet to be seen what provisions will be included in any new ordinance. Judge Stephens informed the Court that they should tell him what they want to include, and he would put together a proposal for the Court to examine.

In other actions Thursday night the Court heard from EMS Director Jimmy Barnett concerning the non-emergency transfer service being provided by the Ambulance Service.

Barnett said the revenues for last month were about $23,000, and the new truck dedicated to the runs is in constant use.

“It’s doing better than I had thought it would, and I had high expectations,” he said.

Magistrate Phillips suggested there may be a need to add a second truck, to which Barnett agreed it was a possibility down the road.

Magistrate Mann requested permission for the County to apply for an 80/20 grant to do repair work on the bridge on Round Top Road. The request was approved.

Magistrate Baird asked if the gates at the McCreary County Park could be left open for 24-hours on a trial basis. He explained he had received requests for the move after some citizens wanted to walk the trails after hours, but were unable to gain access. He also noted Sheriff Waters stated with both gates open, his deputies could increase patrol in the area to combat vandalism.

The issue was left unfinished as it was decided to wait to act on it until spring, when there will be longer daylight hours and better weather.

Magistrate Phillips asked if the County would work with the state to help defray the costs of installing a guard rail on Wolf Creek Road. Judge Stephens said he believed that would be possible.

The next regular scheduled meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on Thursday, January  12 at 6:00 p.m.

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