Town Council abandons Ordinance 440 requiring a business license in Pinedale
Ordinance would have given the Town the power to shut existing businesses down and refuse to allow new businesses into Pinedale
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
September 8, 2008
At the regular Town Council meeting on Monday, September 8th, the Pinedale Town Council voted to abandon any further discussion of Ordinance 440 requiring a business license in the Town of Pinedale. The Council chambers were filled with Pinedale business owners who came to hear the discussion. Mayor Stephen Smith said he had received quite a few letters, comments and phone calls from people expressing sentiments against the business license. Mayor Smith commented that while he felt there were a number of good reasons to have such an ordinance, he didn't think the community was ready for it.
In a discussion that lasted less than three minutes from start to finish, a motion was made and seconded to "abandon the 2nd reading and further discussion of Ordinance 440 for a business license in Pinedale." The Council was unanimous in their vote to kill the ordinance.
The ordinance had its origin last summer in concerns by the Town Council over itinerant/transitory merchants and vendors who set up shop in town for short periods of time, and the realization the Council had no regulatory control over those merchants. The Council stated they might be able to address that concern in other ways rather than with the business license ordinance as proposed.
Local businesses became concerned late last month when the Council passed the 1st Reading for the business license ordinance without consulting first with local businesses or the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce about the idea, or asking businesses if they felt there was a need for the ordinance. Business owners became quite upset and rallied opposition when they realized the wording of the seemingly innocent $15/year license actually gave the Town the power to refuse to issue or renew a business license for any business, new or existing, each and every year without cause or justification or provision for appeal. Opponents were concerned the ordinance gave the Town ultimate authority to decide who could and couldn’t have a business in Pinedale, effectively controlling the marketplace.