Brent Warnock, who sells ice cream cones and frozen yogurt, sat in a City Council meeting recently, marveling at the discussion that was going on.
Developers were talking about projects costing millions of dollars.When it was his turn on the agenda, Warnock felt a little awkward.
"I'm here to talk about $150," he said.
That's the price Warnock, owner of The Big Dipper, has to pay every year for a license to do business for four months in a shack outside of Winegar's Market, 845 N. 400 East.
Though $150 may not sound like much, Warnock must sell about 455 ice cream cones just to pay for the business license.
His profit margin definitely takes a licking.
And Warnock doesn't think it's fair because other businesses only have to pay $20 a year for a business license.
Warnock asked the City Council to consider restructuring its rates to give consideration to "permanent temporary" businesses, such as his: Those businesses, such as shaved ice stands, that, while having no permanent structure, return every year to do business in Bountiful.
"How about a $150 fee the first year , then a $20 fee every year after that?" Warnock proposed.
But Councilman Robert Gramoll, a businessman himself, wasn't sympathetic. "I don't want to see a bunch of temporary businesses coming into town. . . . I think the fee is reasonable."
City Manager Tom Hardy said most cities discourage temporary businesses by higher license fees.
"We don't want a farmers' market, carnival atmosphere up and down Main Street," Hardy said. Besides, temporary businesses don't pay property taxes and, therefore, compete unfairly with permanent businesses. Consumers can also suffer as a result of "here today, gone tomorrow" businesses, Hardy said.
The city manager said, however, that Warnock has a valid point and there "might be a way to work with people who are repetitive."
The matter was referred to the city's Planning and Zoning Committee, which on Tuesday recommended that the City Council lower the temporary license fee to $20 and find other ways to discourage inappropriate businesses.
"It was very fair. They could see the reasoning," Warnock said. "I hope I can get the same at the City Council."