Street Vendor Controversy Continues in Fort Stockton

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON-- New details on the street vendor controversy in Fort Stockton.

The City Council is cracking down, they voted last night to stop issuing permits and licenses to them for the next six months.

"As representatives of the citizens of Fort Stockton, we are addressing their concerns," Mayor Ruben Falcon, said.

According to Falcon, the problem went much further than just vendors amd peddlers on the streets, "We really had two issues.  Number one was the general public's concern with the appearance of the city and number two was commerce.  The established businesses wanting to get a fairness level to it."

The city council's solution was simple, a six month moratorium on permits. "We will not issue any new permits from Tuesday until six months," he explained.

In a previous interview, vendor Rutiolio Salas said, he is following the letter of the law, "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."

According to Arna McCorkle, Executive Vice President of  the Chamber of Commerce, it's not just locals that are causing a stir, "We have people who come here on the weekends.  I don't know if they have permits."

Mayor Falcon says this action is in response to numerous calls by citizens and business owners in Fort Stockton.  The ultimate goal is to get everyone on an even playing field, "The city council needed time.  Our attorney needed time to look at what other cities are doing in regards to street vendors and peddlers, to not only be fair to them but also be fair to the established businesses."

Vendors whose licenses expire within the next six months, will not be allowed to re-apply until the new codes are enforced.   But Falcon said, there is a loop hole, "You can get up to a one year permit.  If some people bought a one year permit, this will not affect them at all."

City officials say the vendors are welcome to participate in city celebrations like July 4th, Labor Day and Memorial Day.  But as Falcon says, their economic development goal is clear, "We want people to establish brick and mortar businesses in Fort Stockton.  Where you employ people and pay your fair share of taxes, property, and sales tax and where you become part of the economy."