Originally Published: October 13, 2000 7:15 p.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY — With about 45 Peddler's Pass business people and their vendors in the audience, Prescott Valley officials decided to offer the best deal of the week: a compromise on a sales-tax ordinance.
After a presentation by Peddler's Pass attorney John Mull, showing where the proposed ordinance far outdistances what's required under an Arizona Department of Revenue regulation, town officials agreed they could retool the document.
The ordinance would have re-classified the swap meet with junk dealers, auction houses and pawn shops.
It would have required swap meet owners to file monthly statements with vendors' names and addresses and what dates they sold there.
In addition, the new rules would have imposed a greater criminal penalty than the similar state statute if the swap meet owner fails to submit a vendor report on time.
Mull told the council Peddler's Pass wants to comply with the town's requests. However, ongoing monthly sales tax reports from a business with hundreds of vendors would be an unreasonable imposition.
The owners, Gary and Suzy Arnold, already keep a list of the vendors. But the state only asks for that list occasionally, and the Arnolds supply it on demand.
Asked whether other businesses in town have to submit monthly reports, Administrative Services Director Linda Thorson said they do not.
However, the town wanted a monthly report because state sales tax reports come back monthly, and it would be easier for the town to match vendors over the same time period.
Mull said he believes the town and Peddler's Pass can work with the ordinance to serve the town's needs and satisfy Peddler's Pass "without unduly burdening them."
"Peddler's Pass wants to continue to do business and have a business relationship with the town," he said.
Town Attorney Ivan Legler agreed that town officials could find a way to put swap meets — which sell both new and used items — into a separate section of the town code away from pawnshops and junkyards.
Since 1987, Peddler's Pass has held weekend swap meets at its current location, west of Prescott East Highway and south of Highway 69.
Mull claimed about 700 people signed petitions, asking that the town allow Peddler's Pass to continue its business in the current manner.
While both town officials and Mull agreed at the outset that the meeting was over the ordinance, and not other issues that the swap meet has with the town, some of those did come out after the council agreed to table the ordinance.
Mayor Rick Killingsworth asked that the town and Peddler's Pass try to come back to a friendly way of working together.
The town, he said, has drawn in Second Street as a possible future road, just as it has sketched out a number of other future roads. That doesn't mean the town will start them in the near future.
If Second Street does go through, it will be because Peddler's Pass and its leaseholder, the Fain family, agree with that call, Killingsworth said.
"I'm not out to hurt anyone," he said.
"Everyone has to play fair, at the same table, as you have seen here tonight," he added.
Suzy Arnold, who operates Peddler's Pass with her husband, Gary, said she was happy with the meeting.
Mull said now the town and his clients can hammer out rules that serve both.
"I think the council made the correct call in realizing they have to work with Peddler's Pass and other similar businesses. … They are a little bit different than other businesses," he said.