Following decisions on two requests for local itinerant merchant licenses, Garden City commissioners on Tuesday said they were considering changing the requirements for temporary businesses setting up shop within city limits.
In Garden City, a local itinerant merchant license, given to businesses that have a permanent physical location with at least 1,000 square feet in the city and that has operated for at least a year, costs $365 a year, and non-local itinerant merchant licenses cost $300 per day or $900 per month in an attempt to make up for lost property tax.
At its Tuesday meeting, the commission approved a request from Bonnie Bribiesca, who normally operates her business at a Holcomb address, to classify her company, Graphic Stitching Unlimited, as a local business when she temporarily sets up shop outside Team Electronics in Garden City during the holiday season.
The city has approved the classification change every year since 2012, though on Tuesday, Commissioner Lindsay Byrnes was the lone nay vote. Finney County had expanded the definition of local businesses to include within Finney County and allows established, brick-and-mortar local host businesses to pay for the license at the local rate for a vendor wishing to set up temporarily on its property.
Mayor Roy Cessna said the expanded definitions made Bribiesca’s long-term location a local business, qualifying her for the license.
Soon after, the commission denied a similar request from Garden City resident Hope Hernandez, who requested the license for her newly established mobile boutique store, Curb Appeal Boutique, expressing concerns with the business potentially parking on public property. Hernandez’s business is currently run out of a vintage camper, but in two years, she told the commission, she hopes to find a permanent location in Garden City.
Commissioner Troy Unruh told Hernandez he loved her innovation, and Byrnes said afterward that the city was hoping to find a way to accommodate temporary, seasonal or mobile businesses without hurting brick-and-mortar businesses that pay property taxes.
“We have new types of businesses that I think are maybe of a different model or a different scale than we’ve seen in the past, and we want to be responsive to those businesses. We want to encourage that … We need to be fair on both sides and not encourage competition that is not going to be on the same level playing field as folks that are permanently located here. And yet, at the same time recognizing the changing business models,” Byrnes said.
Talks of changes to the policy had come up recently, Cessna said. Whatever potential decisions were made in the future, the goal would be to promote local and new businesses that wanted to put down roots in Garden City, not just drive through, he said.
“We’re seeing more those types of businesses looking at trying to come into our community, so it was a discussion by all the commissioners … I think we’ll maybe be taking a look at that in the future,” Cessna said.
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