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Hearing scheduled to lower vendors' fees

June 20, 2019
A public hearing has been scheduled to significantly lower the town's vendor fees after concerns that the current fees might be restricting certain businesses.

The board of selectmen will hold a public hearing on June 26 during its 7 p.m. meeting to revise the Outdoor Vendor and Transient Sales Fee Schedule, adopting much lower fees. Currently the town charges $50-65 a day, $400 a week, $1,500 a month, and $2,500 annually for vendors.

Resident Joe Wernig brought up the issue at a previous meeting, considering some friends who have a food truck they want to set up in places like Village Field. Selectman Chan Eddy asked Town Administrator Scott Dunn to examine the possibility of lowering the fees.

During Wednesday's selectmen's meeting Dunn said he looked into 20 different New Hampshire communities to see what others were charging for their fees. Of those 20, Gilford had the third highest with two other communities charging more than Gilford did. Dunn said the board might want to examine lowering the fees.

Eddy said when the subject came up the first time he was aggravated to learn that the fees were so high to support preexisting businesses.

"I thought it was anti competition, that's not our business to do that so I did ask the town administrator to look into this,"

Dunn did make a suggestion for changing rates to $25 daily, $100 weekly, $250 monthly, and $500 annually. He said the rates would be closer to the middle or the higher side compared to the other communities.

Eddy said while he wished they would adopt rates that were lower he would defer to the opinions of his fellow board members.

"I've always said that the board of selectmen should never be a hindrance to business, but rather help," said selectman Gus Benavides. "But at the same time, I understand why we did this, why we created these fees to also be able to support our local businesses who have invested in here and I think its important for us to do that."

Benavides said he did agree with Eddy's concept that business and a capitalistic society is one of supply and demand. He didn't agree with Eddy's suggestion that the rates be even lower than Dunn's proposal, saying the rates Dunn proposed were reasonable and cost around $10 a week.

The selectmen agreed by consensus to schedule a public hearing on changing the vendor fees.

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