Midway city clerk Lynette Cook-Osborne was quoted as saying, “Transient merchant licenses for this type of business cost $50 per day and that occupational licenses for businesses with one to five employees cost $100 per year,” in the July 6, 2011, Coastal Courier.
Additionally, businesses in Midway that sell alcohol are required to get additional licenses with annual fees: $250 for beer, $250 for wine and $2,000 for distilled spirits — a total of $2,500.
My concerns with the above charges, and other irregularities, are that the Midway ordinances do not authorize these charges, and other actions implemented by the city clerk and apparently overlooked by the mayor.
For example, Title 7, Chapter 2 of the Midway ordinances authorizes only a one-time registration fee of $7 for a transient merchant’s license. Why would anyone pay $50 per day or $1,000 for 20 days, versus paying $100 for a full year?
Also, Title 7, Chapter 3 limits alcohol license fees to $50 for beer sales, $50 for wine sales and only $1,000 for distilled spirits, not $2,500. Refund?
Councilwoman Melice Gerace and I repeatedly have challenged the mayor and city clerk to provide documentation for the increased fees. To date we have received only one feeble response, on Aug. 26, 2011, concerning the transient merchant fees of $50.
The response included copies of three council minutes. Only the Aug. 28, 2006, minutes addressed the fees. As recorded, Councilman Lavern Clancy Jr. recommended a $50-a-day fee, up to a maximum $1,000. No vote was recorded in the minutes. The document presented had the mayor and clerk signature blocks, but unsigned. Most Midway documents are unsigned.
Any new or amended ordinance is voted upon and approved by a majority of the council. The clerk is then responsible for removing and filing the old page, then replacing it with a new one, containing the approved change. The change number and date approved are typed in the lower right corner. The clerk then records the change in the, “Ordinance and Resolution Disposition table” at the back of the ordinances. No such entry has been recorded in the Midway Ordinance and Resolution Disposition Table index since Feb. 12, 1989.
At the Dec. 29, 2014, meeting, the city clerk confirmed that the ordinances were submitted to an agency called Municode prior to July 1, 2014, to be updated from 1989 to present. What exactly was submitted and who authorized it? Only the city council can alter, amend or create new ordinances. If the city clerk cannot provide documentation to members of the council, charged with enacting the ordinances when requested, what is she furnishing to this agency?
In reviewing the minutes, I do not see any indication the documents submitted by the clerk were reviewed or approved by the Midway Council.
Perhaps, the Midway City Council has unanimously decided to relinquish their responsibilities and authority to the clerk.
Doyle is an conservative who lives in Midway and is dedicated to efficient, open and ethical government.