By Robert Barron Staff Writer



Enid city commissioners tabled an increase in permit fees for establishments that sell alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks Tuesday night, but approved a list of other permit fee increases.

Two representatives of local alcohol sales establishments protested, saying the proposed fee increases were out of line with other fee increases.

Steve Nafus, owner of Bucks Party Shop, a package store that also sells party supplies, told commissioners his store and stores like it in Enid pay sales tax like other businesses, plus excise tax to the state, of which at least $100,000 is returned to the city.

"We feel we are lifting our share of the load," he said.

Nafus told the commissioners several neighboring communities have a fee of $905 for businesses selling mixed drinks. The city had proposed increasing the permit fee for establishments selling mixed drinks to $1,005 from the current $600.

Nafus asked commissioners to consider bringing beer licenses more in line to create a less discriminatory environment.

"We are licensed and regulated heavily by the state. Don't raise us by this amount," he said.

Gary James, owner of Chicaro Club, said in a prepared statement if passed, the ordinances will bring in about $9,700 from 24 club owners and about $2,700 from nine liquor stores.

"That's 33 businesses that have paid out over $80,000 per year to do business in Enid," he said, including permit fees and a number of taxes to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Those taxes include 8.35 percent sales tax, 13.5 percent liquor tax and .001 percent tourism tax, totaling 21.85 percent.

"That's almost 22 percent right off the top straight to the state, county, city. That's every month, and that adds up to a pretty substantial amount for small business owners," James said.

James told commissioners the businesses get nothing in return from the city.

"I personally have put up with potholes on my corner for 36 years," he said.

James proposed commissioners approach the county to repeal "restrictive" laws in Garfield County that prohibit club owners from selling strong beer and liquor on Sundays and the five holidays of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.

"That's 57 of the best days of the year these owners cannot do business. Fifty-seven times 33 is a lot of money for this town," he said.

James also proposed a $600 permit fee for churches in Enid. He said that would provide $60,000 a year.

Commissioners tabled the alcohol ordinance for further study.

However, they did approve fee increases for such things as contractors, fireworks displays and ambulance drivers' licenses.

Finance Director Jerald Gilbert said if all the ordinances and resolutions had been approved they would generate about $50,000 a year more funding.

Commissioners also:

? Removed the requirement for a beer permit for consumption of low-point beer at Meadowlake Park. No other parks have such a requirement.

? Named Code Director Chris Bauer as the city's Americans with Disabilities Act compliance coordinator and created a grievance procedure.

? Designating the city of Enid as responsible for future maintenance and operation of the traffic signals at Garriott and Garland.



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