Vendor licenses is the right move, not the easy move

Published 10:24pm Monday, October 14, 2013

The right thing is not always the easiest thing. Such is the case with an idea by the Selma City Council to require vendors at local events pay for a business license.

The proposed license will cost $50 for a period of two weeks.

In doing so, the city has put pressure on a number of annual events that might lose vendors who simply do not want to pay the fee.

It’s the right thing to do, but not the easiest thing to do.

While we welcome vendors to Riverfront Market Day, the ArtsRevive Street Fest and the dozens of vendors who line Water Avenue as part of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, charging a business license fee puts them on the same footing as businesses who open their doors each and every day in Selma. Local businesses don’t get a reprieve from the required city license fee and neither should visiting vendors.

We learned this weekend the proposed idea might force dramatic changes to the annual Riverfront Market Day. It may even force the event to no longer exist in its current format.

While this is a sad situation and one we hope does not happen, it would sadly serve as a casualty of doing the right thing.

Other cities already charge festival and event vendors. It is unfair to the out-of-town vendors and businesses to not have to abide by many of the same requirements as those who call Selma home.

The city council has not reached a final decision on the fees it might impose on vendors, but many, city council members included, feel that fees will soon become a reality.

Events like Market Day, Street Fest and Jubilee attract thousands to Selma every year. Tourism is inarguably one of the largest economic drivers of our city. In attracting tourists to our city, it’s important to ensure out-of-town vendors don’t have an unfair advantage over those who live and work in our city.

In the end, the council should impose these fees on vendors, but there are consequences.

It’s the right thing, but we understand that doing what’s right is not always easy.

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