Mayor Felipe Perez, City Councilmember Freddy Valdez and City Councilmember Elsa Lopez were present at the Firebaugh City Council meeting held on Nov. 6.

There was an update on the business license issue that was discussed in a recent article. Pio Martin, the city’s financial analyst, had previously suggested changing fees to be based on the type of business rather than the usual gross receipts.

Martin explained that cities use gross receipts to avoid changing the whole ordinance. The information presented was for the council’s discussion, after which the members can generate a proposal.

The revision that Martin and city manager Benjamin Gallegos generated included narrower fee increments: A baseline amount of $50 per year with gross receipts between $1-$25,000 and $25 increments were added for every $25,000 a company generated.

Martin suggested that the council determine if there will be a maximum amount charged to a local business, saying, “The most we want Firebaugh businesses to pay is $300.” The proposal also had a weekly $50 fee for vendors who take advantage of special holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

At a past meeting, Councilmember Sylvia Renteria inquired when the fees had last been examined. It was determined that the previous date was February, 2022, and prior to that, fees were last scrutinized in 1991.

Valdez pointed out the fallacy of charging an ice cream truck the same amount for a business license as a company with a $375,000 income. Martin remarked that the high rate of $500 per quarter would be intended to limit the number of vendors on the street, such as taco trucks or ice cream trucks.

Valdez quickly addressed Martin with the assertion, “It seems like you’re targeting certain businesses who cannot afford to have a brick-and-mortar yet. The $50 weekly is good, maybe we need to charge the companies making $375,000 the $2,000 since they could pay this amount. We want locals to thrive; maybe go as low as $300 quarterly to help the individuals who came to the last meeting.”

At this point, Councilmember Lopez interjected that she had proposed $500 for the year and Ramiro and Montoya had been happy with that.

Gallegos recommends that those who approach him try selling at the weekly outdoor market, spend $40 for a permit and see how much revenue that generates.

The next city hall meeting is tentatively scheduled to be a joint meeting with school district officials for Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rodeo Ground Community Center.

Everyone is invited to attend this biannual special meeting.

Samantha Rangel