Swap Meet Vendors Battle City's Plan for Daily Fee

The City Council Tuesday delayed taking any action on a proposed daily fee on swap meet vendors, which city officials say could raise approximately $685,000 annually.

Sellers claim the fee could run many of them out of business.

Vendors and employees of the Paramount swap meet picketed in downtown Monday and Tuesday to protest the proposed fee.

More than 50 vendors and employees of the Paramount swap meet also demonstrated at City Hall prior to the regular Tuesday night meeting and representatives spoke in protest of what they called "an unfair and illegal tax."

Mayor Gerald A. Mulrooney asked the city attorney and the city manager to review further the proposed ordinance to establish the fee.

1,300-Name Petition

The council was also presented with a petition containing more than 1,300 names of vendors, employees and supporters protesting the proposed tax.

The proposed ordinance would require vendors to pay a daily fee to the city to set up their booths at the Pacific Paramount Drive-In, 14711 Paramount Blvd., Paramount. Vendors would be charged $2.50 per day on Mondays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and $5 on Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The city tax would be in addition to a daily fee paid by the vendors to the swap meet owner.

Vendors currently do not pay the city a fee, instead they pay the Modern Development Co., which owns the swap meet, a space fee. The fees start at around $5 and go up to $15 per day. The company, in turn, pays the city a flat sum of approximately $50,000 as an annual business fee.

Under the proposed ordinance, the owner of the swap meet no longer would be required to pay the annual business fee of $50,000. A business fee of about $2,000 per year would be required.

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