Before the Maplewood City Council meeting Tuesday night two businesses were told, in a license revocation hearing, to shut their doors for not paying Missouri state taxes. They both have the opportunity to settle with the state and reopen.
It was the second revocation hearing in the year for Fix it Right Auto and Las Palmas. The first time, in June, they settled with the state and were able to stay in business.
A third business was referred to in the council meeting as a repeat offender, though its name wasn’t spoken. The only other Maplewood business to have multiple revocation hearings is the nightclub, Jumpin Jupiter, which had hearings in June and November 2012.
“We have the potential, everybody knows, with another business, that they constantly do that,” Mayor James White said. “I would like to see leniency the first time, but the third time within a fiscal year, that we just not renew the license of the business.”
He said he doesn’t think the owners of this business have “the business wherewithal to run a business properly and to be in business in Maplewood. I think everybody knows who I’m talking about, and I can see that happening with this company again within the next month or so.”
City Manager Marty Corcoran began the discussion by saying that a revocation hearing is not inexpensive.
“I would like to have us do something to amend the ordinance and at least make it somewhat punitive,” he said.
Two measures he suggested were having a business pay the cost of the hearing before its license is reinstated, or revoking a license for a period of time, such as 14 days, before they can open their doors again.
Corcoran said he realizes some measures, like forcing a business to reapply for a new license, could effectively put them out of business.
“There’s at least one of the people we’ve dealt with, it would be nice if we put them out of business,” he said. “You can’t say this business is a pain in our butt. We want to enforce the rules this way; this one we want to help.”
Ward 1 Councilman Dave Cerven said giving a business multiple chances isn’t fair to other businesses.
“The idea of us revoking a business license, going through all the rigmarole, a day after we revoke it, it comes back. Then it gets revoked again, then they do something and it comes back again. It’s not fair to every other single business in the city,” he said.
Corcoran said he and the city attorney would draft an ordinance to be considered by city council.
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