Immigration Ordinance To Be Amended

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After the immigration ordinance passed on March 15, town hall and the Payson Roundup were inundated with calls from business owners who were concerned about particular portions of the new law regulating business licenses.

Business owners were particularly concerned about the piece of the ordinance that required "the business license number in all advertising, including, but not limited to print, radio, television, mailers and with any logos, names or other decals or identifying marks placed on vehicles." (Click here to read the complete ordinance as it passed on March 15.)

In response to this and other concerns, the Payson Town Council will revisit the ordinance at its April 5 meeting with four amendments, said Mayor Bob Edwards.

"Since the effective date for the ordinance is July 1, we have a chance between now and then to work out the logistical problems in implementing the ordinance," said Town Attorney Sam Streichman.

Edwards visited the Payson Roundup Thursday morning after a meeting with the town staff and legal department to

explain four planned amendments and to answer any other questions from our readers.

Q. If an amendment is passed at the April 5 council meeting, in what advertising venues will business owners be required to display their license number?

A. On April 5, we plan to amend the ordinance in order to clarify its intention. Business owners will only be required to display their license numbers on vehicles.

Not all company-owned vehicles will be required to display business license numbers, only vehicles that already have advertising on them. This can be as simple as adding a magnetic sign or writing on an existing sign.

Q. Will businesses receive any financial assistance from the town to offset costs incurred during compliance with this ordinance?

A. No.

Q. In an interview with the Roundup published in the Tuesday edition, you said new businesses will have to sign affidavits. Does that mean existing businesses are grandfathered in?

A. No. All businesses must renew their business licenses every year. Every business will be asked to sign an affidavit at that time. New businesses must sign affidavits when they apply for their licenses.

Q. How will this ordinance be enforced?

A. Enforcement of this ordinance will be complaint-driven. The town will turn complaints over to the Gila County Attorney's Office or to one of our detectives. If you sign an affidavit and the statement you make is false, it is a felony.

Q. You plan to amend the ordinance to include a passage about the reinstatement of lost business licenses. How will this work?

A. Business owners who lose their license can appeal the decision to (Payson town manager) Fred Carpenter. He then makes a determination on your case. If you have proven that you (no longer employ undocumented workers), you will be reinstated for a fee. The first reinstatement fee will be around $500, the second will be around $1,000, the third time you will not be given your license back.

Q. In the ordinance, as it was passed March 15, there is a clause aimed at landlords. It reads, that "a business license may be revoked for ... entering into a lease or rental contract with any person who is not a United States citizen, permanent resident alien or otherwise lawfully in the United States." How will this be enforced?

A. Upon further consideration, we plan to remove this portion of the ordinance (by a vote at the April 5 meeting). It's complicated, it's a different world and not really our intention with this ordinance. This is not about punishing people.

Q. Does the Town plan to set aside any funds in the next budget for the enforcement of this ordinance?

A. There is no need to allocate more funds.

Q. Is the town planning any meetings with business owners and landlords to assist them in complying with the ordinance?

A. After April 5, if the amendments pass, after that we will have a public question-and-answer session for business people.

Q. Who can people contact with questions about this ordinance?

A. People are welcome to call the Town Clerk's office at (928) 474-5242 ext. 211.

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