By Victoria Metcalf
Some downtown Quincy businessowners might have a reason to stay open Saturdays, and Plumas County residents and visitors can count on something else to do as the Board of Supervisors unanimously waived special fees for the launch of the Saturday Morning Market.
Organizer Lori Ellermeyer was before supervisors during their March 16 meeting, again pitching her idea for the event planned from late May through September.
With the support of Supervisor Greg Hagwood, Ellermeyer told other supervisors and interested county department heads, that she didn’t understand why some special event participants had to pay special fees and others didn’t. Ellermeyer indicated that in her research she didn’t find that arts and craft fair vendors at Blairsden/Graeagle events paid the same fees. Vendors at the Quincy event were asked to pay upwards of $225 to sell similar items.
One of the terms — background checks — was cleared up as Hagwood (retired Plumas County sheriff and now District 4 supervisor representing the Quincy area), explained what the $25 fee goes toward. What is required is a driver’s license check. The check should include a current address, driving violations including DUIs, license suspensions and other things, Hagwood explained.
“The information provided (indicates that the individual is) in fact who they sav they are,” he said.
“But it doesn’t tell you if they’re a child molester,” Supervisor Jeff Engel countered.
Hagwood said the driver’s license check doesn’t take the sheriff’s office very long to conduct.
Plumas County Tax Collector/Treasurer Julie White, who was on the phone (or Zoom) from downstairs in the courthouse, explained that during the prior week Facilities Services Director Kevin Correira was asked for his opinion about the event. The marketplace is slated for the Dame Shirley Plaza. Correira was originally not in favor of tying up the plaza every Saturday until he learned the event is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. He was also concerned about providing facilities such as portable toilets for the event. When Correira was assured that both items were handled, he seemed satisfied.
White said that since her department collects sales taxes that are required at all events, she should be included also. White explained that the $200 fee is for itinerant vendors and door-to-door salespeople. This fee was established a number of years ago as a way for Plumas County officials to check on who was around trying to sell people things. It’s also a way for the county to gain sales taxes owed by individuals who are engaged in sales.
White said she just wanted to be part of the discussion.
“What can we do to move this forward and allow this to move forward?” Hagwood asked other supervisors.
Supervisor Dwight Ceresola then pitched using the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds for the regular Saturday event. By using the fairgrounds they could do away with much of the required fees.
Ellermeyer said that the whole idea behind the marketplace is to get people downtown again. At the fairgrounds many people just drive on by, meaning those on Highway 70 in East Quincy.
Ceresola persisted and said that the county has a fee schedule set up for a reason. “If we start waiving things, it’s trouble down the road.” He added that he hates to see supervisors start waiving fees.
Ellermeyer however said that there are already events scheduled in April and no fees are required. She said that her event is no different than what is already going on. “I’m trying to do the right thing,” she said.
One thing that was indicated last week is that the county doesn’t charge nonprofits. Although Ellermeyer plans to go nonprofit at some point, it is not now.
Ellermeyer also asked who monitors current events of a similar nature. Hagwood said there would probably be no monitoring.
White said that she and her staff make it a point when they see vendors around Quincy to ask them if they have the paperwork for selling locally. These are the people usually fitting the bill as itinerant vendors. They usually are individuals who set up in vacant lots and other likely areas. She added that the existing “ordinance programs needs some brushing up.”
Plumas County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr read the existing ordinance and said that if the proposed event falls into one of the recognized areas “then it might fit.”
At length, Hagwood recommended that they waive the first month’s vendor fee, but require the driver’s license check and see how it goes.
As the topic of fees and licenses was again discussed, Engel said, “You’ll never get me to go for a business license fee in Plumas County. I’d waive the fees for the year. If you can do anything for them (merchants), that’s great.”
Hagwood said that if there are problems they can be brought back to supervisors to address. Supervisor Kevin Goss said it’s something he would like to see in other communities.
Using Engel’s suggestion as a motion, supervisors voted unanimously to approve the Saturday Morning Market.