Some time ago, City Council candidate Tom Martz opposed the restaurant fees imposed on food establishments in Springfield with a statement I found particularly succinct.
"To require businesses and consumers to pay for a government mandated inspection, by government, runs counter-productive for the services we are already paying for via taxation.” (CFP, 07-02-08 Issue)
The meeting minutes of the June 16, 2008 Council meeting tell us:
"Mr. Burlison moved to table the restaurant inspection portion of the proposed ordinance. Ms. Rushefsky seconded the motion. Mayor Carlson asked Council to vote on the proposed motion. The motion failed as follows:
Ayes: Collette, Chiles, Wylie, Manley, Whayne, Deaver, and Carlson. Nays: Rushefsky and Burlison. Abstain: None. Absent: None.
Mayor Carlson expressed his belief that the fee is fair and should be assessed. He also noted the proposed fees had been discussed during budget discussions and previous meetings.
Ms. Rushefsky noted she is not opposed to the fee but expressed concerns that local restaurants may not understand the proposed fee. She expressed her belief that more education is needed for local restaurants.
Mr. Whayne expressed concern regarding the timing of the fees due to the deficit in regards to the budget.
Mr. Deaver expressed his support of the proposed council bill.
Ms. Collette expressed her support of the proposed. She noted she would like to see the proposed in use and then amend if necessary.
Council Bill 2008-153. General Ordinance 5762 was approved by the following vote: Ayes: Collette, Chiles, Wylie, Manley, Whayne, Rushefsky, Burlison, Deaver, and Carlson. Nays: None. Abstain: None. Absent: None"
The reason the action on the restaurant fees has bearing on what Council will decide on Monday night regarding the legislative priorities they will be asked to approve should become clear to you when you read this section of the legislative priorities of the City for 2009:
Section C.4 Mandates
a. STATE. In recent years the state government has by law established mandates for certain local government which have been unfunded. This creates an unreasonable economic burden and is in violation of the principles established in the Constitution of the State of Missouri. The City government strongly opposes any state mandates which are unfunded.
b. FEDERAL. The federal government should refrain from establishing new programs which shift the burden of federal programs to local government without being accompanied by funding to pay for the costs of such programs. The application of the FLSA to city personnel also acts as a mandate by imposing unwarranted costs on local government, particularly in the area of police and fire service. The City government strongly opposes any federal mandates that are unfunded.
Just in case it isn't as clear to you as it is to me, let's have a little fun and pretend we are a restaurant owner using the city's own arguments:
In 2008, the city government has by law established mandates for local food service establishments which have been unfunded.This creates an unreasonable economic burden and is in violation of the principles established in the Constitution of the State of Missouri. The food establishments strongly oppose any city mandates which are unfunded.
Further, the city government should refrain from establishing new fees which shift the burden of city programs (or services) to food establishments without being accompanied by funding to pay for the costs of such programs (or services). Such a mandate imposes unwarranted costs on food establishments. The food establishments of the city of Springfield strongly oppose any city mandates that are unfunded.
Just as a little extra aside, notice how the city appears to be admitting in their own argument that such government mandates unaccompanied by funding "is in violation of the principles established in the Constitution of the State of Missouri?" Oh my.