Controversy Could be Brewing Over Street Vendors in Fort Stockton

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON--An increase in the number of street vendors has raised some concern over their operation and the effect they have on established businesses.

"It's not that we're against the vendors, we think that if they are going to have a business here in Fort Stockton, they need to have to pay all the taxes," Arna McCorkle, Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, said.

She stopped just short of saying there's a problem with these vendors, "Our main concern is our members all have their own businesses and they are here in permanent buildings.  They're having to pay city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes, property taxes."

One the main concerns is that these vendors don't have to or are not doing the same. 

"We have people who come here on the weekends.  I don't know if they have permits.  I don't know if they are being checked to see if they have their health certificates.  We just want to make it where everybody is equal," McCorkle explained.

While the Chamber of Commerce is concerned that the wealth is spread out evenly, Rutilio Salas, the owner of Taqueria Jalisco, says he's not doing anything wrong, "I got a permit from the city to let me sell.  I got permission from the police depatment.   The two permits that I am required."

Salas runs his business 7 days a week from noon until 10.   He says he makes sure everything is in order, right down to the spot he will be selling on any particular day, "I speak to the owners and they give me permission to sell on their property, at a dance or a bar."

McCorkle says, the Chamber doesn't want to do away with these vendors, since everyone has to make a living, "A lot of them are just local people, that during the hard times, are just trying to make some money.   I appreciate that."

They just want to make sure, everyone is treated equaly, "We just want them to get a fair share and keep the money in Fort Stockton as much as we can," McCorkle said.

The issue will be discussed at Tuesday's City Council meeting.