By Marion V. Ali
Some vendors at the San Ignacio Town market say they are at odds with the San Ignacio Town Council over the fees it charges for trade license.
The vendors say that they have taken their complaint to the Council but it did not yield them a favourable response.
Their concern is twofold. Firstly, they have until the end of March to pay $200 in trade license fees or they will be removed. This fee, they say. is in addition to their monthly rental fee of $120 for stalls, and another $100 a month paid separately for security services.
Eliazar Vasquez told us that business has declined for him and his mother, Palmira Vasquez, who occupy one of the stalls at the market, and for a few more of the vendors. He said that to add to hardship, the Council has allowed temporary vendors to occupy and sell from open spaces in front of and inside the market facility on heavy market days, particularly on Saturdays.
San Ignacio Town Mayor, John August, explained that the vendors have been aware of the trade license fees since 2013 when it was first introduced. He continued that the vendors were given notice earlier this year that they would need to pay trade license fees and that the Council’s reminder has been met with resistance from few vendors who have not made an effort to pay it.
He added that the Council took a decision to set the end of March as the deadline for payment.
“Trade license is calculated at 25 percent of the rental value of stalls”, he said, “Hence the yearly trade license should be $360. …What we are charging is fair.”
August further stated that the Council decided to give the vendors a break for the past few years since the facility was constructed, and decided in 2013 to enforce the trade license law that already existed.
He said that the Council has no intention to raise the rental fee, which covers utilities, sanitation & hygiene expenses.
The Council, he points out, makes the bulk of its revenues from the temporary vendors, who number in excess of 100 on Saturdays.
This revenue is what it uses to cover garbage collection expenses, the Mayor. added.
The $3,000 – $4,000 y that the Council hopes to collect as trade license fees will be used to cover garbage collection expenses, he explained.
Mayor August said that if the remaining vendors who have not yet made an effort to pay their trade license do not do so, the Council will be forced to remove them.
The market vendors have already paid the trade license fee,he said.