MURRAY — When the Murray City Council meets in about two weeks, it more than likely will be deciding on a proposed ordinance to change how business licenses are handled in regard to special events in the community, as well as for out-of-town vendors.

Thursday evening, City of Murray Administrator Jim Osborne testified in front of the council’s Personnel and Finance Committee to describe the new plans. He said this came after discussions between himself, City of Murray Attorney Warren Hopkins and Mayor Bob Rogers.

“We’ve spoken to many of you over the past several months about business licenses and that the city now requires entities to send in 10-99s (federal tax forms that report the type of income one may receive during a year, other than the salary paid by employers) at the end of the year on a business they have conducted business with. Well, that caused us to determine that there a lot of people that do not have business licenses,” Osborne said.

“So we’ve worked on this the past couple of months and we’ve come up with a ‘special events’ section in the definitions (of the city’s Code of Ordinances Section 110.02). This is for special events or vendor fairs, things like that. Under the old ordinance, if someone came in for a one-day event, they would have to pay $75 and then may have a bigger fee to the person putting the event on, so essentially, maybe the first $125, they don’t earn any money.”

The change is one Osborne said is more fair to vendors. If the ordinance is approved, vendors will be charged $5 a day when they are in Murray for an event. If they are in the city for 15 days, that charge will be capped at $75, “so it won’t be punitive to them,” Osborne said.

“And it will be the special event coordinator’s job to gather that information and gather that money so that businesses don’t have to come into City Hall for that to occur,” he added. “We think that will address that issue and we think this is going to be kind of like the mobile food truck ordinance (which passed earlier this year). We may have to come back and touch this a couple of times to see how it’s working.”

The other change deals with businesses or individuals coming from out of town for a day or so for an activity or job requirement.

“We have a lot of people contact us, mainly local organizations, that may have someone coming in to, say, tune a piano or give a speech, then at the end of the year, they get a letter from the city that says, ‘You came to Murray one time, you have to buy a business license,’” Osborne said. “So, essentially, the local people were telling us that those out-of-town folks weren’t coming back.”

The new ordinance proposes that the business license purchase requirement not go into effect until the out-of-town entity has earned $2,000 or more.

“We think that would be more fair and help our local entities get these people from out of town that they need for these special events or jobs,” he said of the proposed amendment to Section 110.03 of the Code of Ordinances.

Councilman Monty McCuistion, who is on the committee, asked how this would affect an out-of-town vendor that would be involved with multiple events in the same day. Osborne said he believed only the single $5 would apply.

Councilman Wesley Bolin, also a committee member, inquired how this would affect food trucks engaged in an event. Osborne said he believed they also would only pay $5. Bolin went on to give his support to the measure.

“I think it’ll award people who have been doing the right thing for a long time,” he said.

The ordinance had its first reading Thursday, but no vote was taken. 

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