The City of Erie is conducting a study to see if the city should charge local businesses a fee for a sidewalk dining easement.
Although this is a new survey being conducted, one councilman explained that this been in the works for awhile. “We’ve said for years it cost us money to do all of this, so we should have a small fee not to make money, but to control everything. You know signage and everything and just keep it all under control,” said Casimir Kwitowski, Erie City Councilman.
Right now businesses do have apply to the city for an easement for the area that they want to use. However if approved it is free, so if the city decides to implement a fee this will become an additional cost for business owners. “As the city continues to grow things like this happen, so again certainly having an extra fee as a business owner is never helpful, but its just one of those costs of doing business,” said Hannah Kirby, owner of Ember + Forge.
One question also being asked by a local owner, is will this fee depend on how much seating you have outside. “I don’t know how they’re going to measure the fee if its going to be all the same for everybody or depending on how many tables.,” said David Saldana, owner of El Amigo Mexican Grill.
At this time it is unknown of how much the fee would be for businesses, however the councilman further explained businesses can voice any concerns they may have. “You can call us and tell us what your opinion is you know you have your right to do that, You know we’re not going to go out there and hammer anybody,” said Kwitowski
The goal is to have this study completed by the end of the year