Re-edited Tuesday, 8:46am
Saying that there is just too much work to do to make a proposed Newport Business License ordinance comply with proper intent, not to mention compliance with state law, the Newport City Council said they’ll give the Business License Task Force until January to work with city staff, local property management firms, and two city councilors to produce a possible solution.
City Attorney Christy Monson told the city council that the city’s current business license law is badly flawed and that it might be better if they started over from scratch. City staff had demanded three local property management firms pay thousands of dollars for their business licenses as opposed to the standard $75/year plus additional fees for each rental property they own themselves and property they manage for others for a fee.
Although Dolphin, Mishey and Yaquina Bay Properties paid $75 each for their business licenses earlier in the year, they had refused to pay an extra tax based on the total number of units they managed. While this face off was going on, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that no city or county can levy what amounts to an income tax…an income tax derived from the concept that the more units a real estate firm manages, the more money they make and therefore should pay more for a business license. Dolphin, Mishey and Yaquina Bay protested the added tax.
After meeting with the firms and their attorney Dennis Bartoldous, City Manager Jim Voetberg said he had withdrawn earlier demands for payment of the original billing, but then offered to let the properties pay just the extra $8/year per unit on property their company’s own rather than on all units they manage. Whether even that reduced amount would conform to the court of appeals seeming prohibition against “income taxing” remains to be seen.
The issue is expected to continue swirling as the council, city staff and the firms continue to arm wrestle as the city’s new business license ordinance is ultimately crafted. City Attorney Christy Monson told the council that any city ordinance should be clear in its intent, function and enforcement and that’s hopefully what the council is offered this January when a final draft of a city business license ordinance is presented to the council for review and possible adoption.