Riverhead, NY: Town Board Mulls Fee Increases for Rental Units, Food Peddlers

Credit Joseph Pinciaro

By Joseph Pinciaro | Riverhead.Patch.com

Credit Joseph Pinciaro
Credit Joseph Pinciaro

A pair of proposals to increase fees have been put on hold after the town board discussed them on Thursday, deciding to look over the proposed rates with surrounding towns before moving forward.

New fee structures were proposed for sections of the code relating to peddlers and solicitors, as well as rental dwelling units – including hotels and motels.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, the board’s liaison to the code committee, said the committee discussed updating its fee structures recently namely in relation to food peddlers at its last meeting. Food truck vendors don’t pay the property taxes permanent businesses do, and Giglio said deli owners have recently come to her asking for an update of the fees – which have not been raised since 1992.

“The owners are saying instead of coming to my place to buy breakfast, they are buying from coffee trucks and I’m losing business,” she said. “They have to pay taxes to the tune of $8,000 to $10,000, plus their employees, and we have coffee trucks coming from all over Suffolk County to Riverhead because there is a lot of construction going on.”

In addition to higher fees, Giglio said Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz recommended a new licensing requirement that would involve a fingerprinting and background check process previously not required.

An annual license – currently $100 – was proposed to increase to $500.

Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman George Gabrielsen expresses hesitation at the thought of raising the fees five-fold.

“I don’t fundamentally have a problem with it,” Walter said. “But any time we increase a fee by five times, that could be a little steep.”

Councilman Jim Wooten, however, noted that “they make $500 in one stop.” Giglio added that a $2,000 fee had been proposed to the committee.

In addition to peddlers, amendments to chapter 86 were proposed as well, doubling biannual application fees. Currently single-unit rentals pay $150 and hotels/motels pay $500, plus $50 for each additional unit.

They board said they would review fee structures with surrounding towns, and both proposals to put the items up for public hearing were pulled on Thursday.