Food tax, bed and breakfast included on agenda

2013-01-28T10:30:00Z 2013-01-28T13:02:08Z Food tax, bed and breakfast included on agendaBy Chris Zavadil/Fremont Tribune Fremont Tribune
January 28, 2013 10:30 am  • 

The Fremont City Council on Tuesday will face a lengthy agenda that includes the second reading of a proposed food and beverage occupancy tax and a Fremont couple’s request to open a bed and breakfast.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Municipal Building, preceded by a 6:45 p.m. study session.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, announced last week their opposition to a proposed 1.75 percent food and beverage tax that underwent first reading on Jan. 8.

Thirty people attended an “awareness event” hosted by the group on Thursday at Keene Memorial Library.

“We’re recruiting people in Fremont to take action and to voice their opposition against this tax,” Matt Litt, the organization’s deputy state director, told the Tribune.

Litt said the tax would be “too high of a burden on the people in Fremont, and unnecessary when you’re trying to grow an economy and (with) the other taxes that are coming into effect because of Obama care and the increased payroll tax and things of that nature.”

Six people, including three restaurant owners, testified against the tax three weeks ago.

City officials project the tax, which would add 35 cents to the cost of a $20 meal, will generate about $621,000 a year.

Mayor Scott Getzschman said not passing the food and beverage tax would make it difficult to take care of necessary capital improvements.

“This occupancy tax allows the city to take pressure off of the general fund, take pressure off of keno funds, and take pressure off of reserves ... and it allows us to continue making the capital improvements that the city needs,” he said.

David and Susan Fink of Fremont hope to persuade the council to issue a conditional use permit for the house they purchased recently at 346 W. 16th St., next door to their residence.

The Fremont Planning Commission on Jan. 21 recommended denial on a 5-3 vote.

City Planner Rian Harkins said his recommendation for denial was based, in part, on the potential traffic impact in the neighborhood.

The two-bedroom house would host a maximum of four guests. The property has a two-car garage and driveway. The Finks plan to use the garage for storage, but the driveway would be available to guests.

Harkins pointed out in a staff report Thursday that the Long Range Transportation Plan notes the intersection of 16th and Nye Avenue – one block west of the proposed bed and breakfast – “had the second highest crash rate in the city during a three-year period. At least some of these accidents are related to traffic speed on 16th Street.”

A bed and breakfast, Harkins said, would generate 16 to 18 traffic trips per day, while a single-family home could be expected to generate eight to 10 trips per day.

David Fink, however, maintained that there is “ample and complete” off-street parking for his guests.

“Common sense dictates that a two-room bed and breakfast that is utilized occasionally cannot possibly create more traffic than a standard family occupying the house with two or three cars and teenagers driving in and out,” Fink said. “It is a wide street, 16th is a snow route that technically has parking on the south and west sides of the house. It is a rare occasion that anyone uses the parking available on 16th Street, and I would certainly discourage any guests to park there, since adequate parking is available off-street.”

The council will also consider under the regular agenda:

* Using public funds to install a lift station and force main that would serve the Fremont Commons development. The estimated cost is $400,000.

* Second reading of a proposed occupancy tax on solid waste collection and hauling.

Consent agenda items are considered routine and are generally passed in one motion. Items can be moved from the consent agenda to the regular agenda at the request of a council member or by the public.

Consent agenda items include:

* New fee structures for parks and recreation services. User group fees paid by sports organizations would face the steepest increases.

* Awarding a bid for Unit No. 8 turbine overhaul at the power plant. The $513,046 bid of S.T. Cotter Turbine Services Inc. was recommended by utilities staff.

* Extending sewer and water to the northwest corner of the U.S. 30 and County Road 20-1/4 intersection. The recommended bid, $237,822, is from Penro Construction Co. Inc.

* Awarding a bid for the Ronin Pool filter project. Gifford Realty Inc. submitted the low bid of $133,885.

* Closing the sidewalk at 109 E. Sixth St. from Feb. 1 to April 1 for building façade work Grace Presbyterian Church.

* Engineering and design agreements for seven separate projects.

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