Letters to the Editor: Business promotion fee amounts unfair

Letters to the Editor: Business promotion fee amounts unfair

Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note: This e-mail was submitted to the City Council in advance of their May 7 meeting, and a copy was provided to The Alamedan for publication; it has been edited for clarity.

Honorable Members of Alameda City Council,

On May 7, your body and the business community will be discussing the Business Improvement Area (BIA) fee. This short e-mail is intended to bring attention to the unfair and misproportioned fee assessment based on my particular business circumstance in Zone A (1516 Oak Street).

I have a small, two-day-a-week private psychotherapy practice. The nature of my "business" does not rely on traditional business promotions nor benefits from any of the business improvements covered in the BIA, I can assure you of this. I have reliably paid my business license for the past 10 years, as well as BIA; however when the BIA was raised last year to $139, I protested before your board, to no avail.

My contentions are:

1) The BIA - promotions and improvements do not in any way enhance my business.

2) I conduct my Alameda practice on a part-time basis, and the BIA appears referenced to full-time proprietors.

3) (Park Street Business Association) membership and business licenses should be separated to avoid any conflicts of interest and/or misappropriation of funds.

4) Similarly, business associations should be voluntary and not compulsory.

5) BIA fees should not be determined by City Council (Mr. (Robb) Ratto (PSBA's executive director) informed me the city council sets the fees - phone conversation Thursday, May 3rd).

6) Lastly, the BIA fees fund PSBA and the bulk of PSBA expenses are salaries and benefits - this seems unfairly advantageous to PSBA leadership.

My hope is your body will consider these six points during your discussion on May 7. I apologize for my physical absence this Tuesday, as I have to work evening hours in another position. I would like to think that my business contributes to the community in the actual service it provides, and any business improvement I offer would be on a voluntary basis, not compulsory and certainly not affixed and added to my annual $81 business license fee. Your attention to this e-mail is greatly appreciated, and should be included into the May 7, 2013 written record.

Kindest regards,
Michael Torres, PsyD