Texarkana, Arkansas business owners voice concerns over proposed ordinance

September 4, 2017
Texarkana, AR

A proposed ordinance requiring Texarkana, Arkansas businesses to pay a yearly license fee was the focus of a public hearing Thursday afternoon at city hall.

The new license would make local businesses responsible for policing their property.

The meeting started out the city manager laying out the proposed policy, but it turned into a some tense moments when business owners started questioning a need for the license fee.

A large crowd of business owners gathered in the city board room to voice their concerns about paying a yearly-fee for a new city-issued business license.

Under the proposed policy all business owners would be responsible to prevent nuisances on their property such as loitering and promoting prostitution.

If approved and a business doesn't comply with the ordinance, they could end up in district court.

While City Manager Kenny Haskins say the ordinance would make the city safer, many business owners say don't believe there is even a need for the policy.

"We know what it's all about. It's all about sales tax. The city has lost so much sales tax because number one they didn't fight for the liquor stores when we basically got almost put out of business by Texas," said Ben Brewer, Southtown Liquor owner.

This is the first public hearing to discuss the proposed ordinance.

The next step it to take the issue before the board of directors.

If approved, the license will cost business owners between $100 and $500, depending on the square footage of the business.

The fees will help pay for enforcing the ordinance.

SOURCE: https://www.ktbs.com/news/texarkana-arkansas-business-owners-voice-concerns-over-proposed-ordinance/article_71f76ec0-8918-11e7-b1b2-9bd899a1bd75.html