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With a little over a month before RAGBRAI rolls through town, the Kalona City Council passed an ordinance setting vendor charges.
The ordinance, passed unanimously, sets the rate at $300 for for-profit entities and $200 for nonprofit entities.
“The goal is to solidify that there’s a mechanism in place to recoup some of the up-front costs,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “We want to make sure that the people in the city limits who benefit from RAGBRAI have a city vendor license.”
City Clerk Karen Christner said that the ordinance does not reference RAGBRAI so it can stay in place and apply to other special events in the city.
Councilman Craig Spitzer said he had received a question from a local business owner about allowing them to donate the use of their private lot by the business to a non-profit organization during RAGBRAI.
He said that the business owner did not feel that they should have to pay a vendor fee because they were utilizing their own private property.
Schlabaugh explained that any entity that will be doing business outside of its normal scope must have a vendor license.
“We’re not out to punish people,” he said. “We’re just trying to be sure we follow the standards set by RAGBRAI.”
According to the ordinance, anyone selling food or merchandise in the city limits without a license can be deemed a nuisance and immediately shut down. Those people will have the option of purchasing a vendor license in cash in order to continue operating during the event.
Anyone selling any type of prepared food will also have to pass a health inspection.
Schlabaugh said there will be an open forum vendor meeting on June 28 where vendors can get information from county health inspectors regarding what guidelines they need to follow.
Health inspectors will be doing inspections on the morning of July 27 when RAGBRAI comes through.
Schlabaugh said food vendors will not be allowed to open until they pass their health inspection.