TUPPER LAKE - A Tupper Lake businessman addressed the Tupper Lake Village Board last week concerning the establishment of fees for temporary businesses that use municipal property to sell their goods.
James Foti told the board he would like to see the village adopt more stringent guidelines for vendors who set up shop during events like the Tinman Triathlon and Woodsmen's Field Days.
Village clerk Mary Casagrain said temporary vendors get permission to conduct business in two ways. In some cases, the business goes through the village to request the use of municipal land - a process that requires a permit and payment to the village. The second and more common method sees businesses getting approval through an umbrella organization.
When the Adirondack Motor Enthusiast Club hosted ice races recently, the club worked out the liability issues with the village, but the event's vendors only had to go through the club, Casagrain explained.
"The club asked for use of the municipal lot for the event," she said. "The food vendors only had to get permission from Adirondack Enthusiast."
Foti promptly asked Casagrain if those vendors had to pay electric or utility bills.
"They did not," Casagrain responded.
Foti said he'd like to see these temporary businesses take the same steps that he and other permanently established businesses are required to take.
"I would appreciate the village board taking that extra step and making sure that the businesses that do show up are legitimate businesses," Foti said.
Village attorney Douglas Wright said the village should consider passing a resolution that requires umbrella organizations like the Adirondack Motor Enthusiasts and Woodsmen Days to sign and accept the requirements set forth by the village.
"If you're going to have the broader entity contracting with these vendors, than the village should ask the organization to abide by its guidelines," he said.
Foti also questioned health issues surrounding vendors that sell food at events. He asked the board if a hot dog stand is held to the same rigorous standards that would be expected of a downtown restaurant.
"I know for a fact that the health department does arrive prior to events and checks the cleanliness of a food vendor," said Marti Mozdzier, executive director of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Regardless, village mayor Mickey Desmarais said the village should seek more from temporary vendors, since local businesses already do their part by paying sales tax and business tax.
"If someone's going to pull into town in a wagon and sell a product, then what's their contribution back to the community?" Desmarais asked. "If it means charging them a fee or raising a fee I think the point is well taken and we'll look into that seriously."
Wright, advised the board not to take immediate action regarding the village's permit policies.
"It would be hasty to start drafting any changes to our policies tonight," he said.