Many license fees and occupational taxes are set to double for Carrabelle businesses under a revision and updating of an existing ordinance dating back at least 40 years, and likely more.
Members of Carrabelle’s city staff have been looking into ways to generate income without raising property taxes, and when City Clerk Keisha Messer reviewed the ordinance governing licensing and occupational taxes, she got an eyeful.
Messer discovered the city’s ordinance hadn’t been updated since 1971. In addition, that ordinance must have been a revision of a much older ordinance based on some of the occupations listed.
With help from City Attorney Dan Hartman, Messer revised the list of occupations to reflect a more modern Carrabelle and substantially increased the fees charged for occupational licenses using a formula provided by the Florida League of Cities municipal revenue section.
Under that plan, license fees under $100 could be doubled. License fees between $100 and $300 increased by 50 percent and fees over $300 increase by 25 percent.
The new schedule of fees was published in the Times on July 25 and the second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the city’s Sept. 5 meeting.
Under the new ordinance, professionals like physicians, attorneys and architects will pay $70 annually. Most tradesmen like sign painters, exterminators, dry cleaners and photographers pay $50 each year. Amusement parks pay an annual fee of $200. Circuses and carnivals pay $100.
Barbershops pay $30 for the first chair and $10 for each additional station while beauty parlors pay $40 for the first chair and add $15 for each additional one.
Dancing schools and dance halls are levied an annual $20 while bowling allies pay $30. Rinks for skating and bicycling pay $50 as do taxidermists and radio stations.
Some of the professions that have fallen off the new list are interesting.
Bookbinderies are no longer listed. Box and crate factories were removed, along with card writers, canvassers, fur dealers, popcorn roasters and hat blockers.
Clairvoyants, fortunetellers, mind readers, faith curists and spirit mediums were taxed $100 annually under the old ordinance, but the new ordinance does not mention them.
Divine healers, apparently a distinct occupation from faith curists, have also disappeared from the list. They too paid $100 annually under the old ordinance. Interestingly, physicians, dentists, veterinarians and chiropractors only paid $35 a year.
Coal yards, flour and gristmills and dairies have gone the way of the buffalo. No more coal stoves and milk cows in Carrabelle these days.
Merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, Flying Jennies and seaplanes, once on the hook for $50 a year are not mentioned in the new law.
Hawkers, defined as “vendors of medicines or other preparations purporting to possess medical virtues who occupy a portion of the sidewalk crying their wares” will no longer be licensed in Carrabelle. Gone too are the junk gatherers, midwives, mattress makers and peddlers.
Shooting galleries, skate shops, sideshows, poolrooms and laundries are still taxed.
Messer said many of the missing occupations will now be grouped into more general categories like “Merchant.” Merchants pay anywhere from $15 to $150 annually, depending on their inventory.
There is also an “Unclassified” category, which might be the best fit for those spirit mediums, hat blockers and bookbinders.