Council discusses new vendor fees

Published 7:20am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Selma City Council Administrative Committee met to brainstorm new revenue sources for the city and find places they are “missing out from” in generating income.

The committee, made up of council president Corey Bowie and council members Greg Bjelke and B.L. Tucker discussed multiple possibilities that Bowie said would be put into a package deal and voted on in September, before the start of the next fiscal year.

The ideas discussed included increasing vending machine fees by $1, implementing entertainment fees prior to the opening of the amphitheater, vendor fees, peddler fees and enforcing business licenses to be displayed at all times.

“This isn’t to get rich from, but to bring everything up to compliance,” Bowie said. “I think we are headed in the right direction. In October we should have a package in place for these new revenue sources.”

The group specifically discussed the idea of imposing vending fees for those vendors who come and sell at special events like the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and Selma’s Market Day. Bowie said they would like to charge $50 for one day of selling, $75 for two and $150 or more for three or more days.

The committee also discussed the arrival of the Riverfront Amphitheater that will be host to concerts and other events.

“Some cities charge entertainment fees and we could either look at doing a percentage of tickets or something else,” Bowie said. “We need to put some structures in place because, in my opinion, there is a lot of revenue we are missing out on.”

Bowie said the city currently collects an $11 fee annually per vending machine in the city from the business that host them. He discussed looking into what other machines could be considered vending machines like ATM machines in places other than banks. ATMs at stores and other locations could be subject to a vending fee.

“We are looking at increasing that $11 fee to $12, because surrounding cities, I mean they are charging up to $20 per year per machine,” Bowie said. “$12 per machine may not seem like much but it all adds up.

The city has seen a 20 percent drop in sales tax revenues from 2012 to 2013. They have called in the Montgomery-based company Revenue Discovery Systems to conduct random audits on local restaurants and hotels, but as of a June council meeting, the city was still unsure of why they are seeing the severe decrease in revenue.

Bowie said these new ideas for income are not to make up for that loss, but to find income they are missing out on.

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