Friday, March 12, 2010

Who should pay business taxes?

Hailey man challenges city’s standards


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey metalworker Bob Wiederrick is once again challenging the city's collection of business license fees. He claims the city has been selective in deciding who is required to obtain the licenses.

In 2008, Wiederrick gathered enough signatures on a petition to require the city to hold a referendum on the repeal of both business license fees and development impact fees.

Both measures failed.

The city charges businesses $125 for licenses plus annual charges of $50 per year thereafter. Wiederrick claims the annual fee is a "business tax" and should be abolished.

"What irritates me is that the city selectively enforces who has to get licenses," Wiederrick said.

He reported inconsistencies in fee collections to the City Council on Monday, based on a public records request he conducted.

Mayor Rick Davis asked for a copy of his investigation to share with the council.

"I only went from A to B in the phone book, from architects and attorneys to bed and breakfasts and bookkeepers, and found 14 inconsistencies," Wiederrick said in an interview.

He said only one architect out of five in the city has a license, that only one airline at Friedman Memorial Airport has one, and that several attorneys have not been required to obtain a license.

"I would like to know why they don't need to have one," he said.

Wiederrick said it was "a good idea" that the mayor is asking for copies of his report.

"But it's a bit like the fox guarding the hen house," he said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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