Government

Protesters Demand City Council Eliminate Salon Licensing Fees

b8ff1458f375f5190295_salon2.jpg
About 20 protesters came to City Hall in July 2017 to demand the repeal of a city ordinance that created new licensing fees for salon owners. Credits: Rebecca Panico
ae77b75163424fd95fdb_salon.JPG
About 20 protesters came to City Hall in July 2017 to demand the repeal of a city ordinance that created new licensing fees for salon owners. Credits: Rebecca Panico
bb6d98588d273da374c1_IMG_9378.JPG
About 20 protesters came to City Hall in July 2017 to demand the repeal of a city ordinance that created new licensing fees for salon owners. Credits: Rebecca Panico
3ba054f8ac7b37fddf73_IMG_9357.JPG
About 20 protesters came to City Hall in July 2017 to demand the repeal of a city ordinance that created new licensing fees for salon owners. Credits: Rebecca Panico
b8ff1458f375f5190295_salon2.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ - About 20 protesters came to City Hall last night to demand the repeal of a city ordinance that created new licensing fees for salon owners.

MORE: Read the full ordinance here

“This is our job and we provide jobs to all the people in the city,” Diana Maldonado said during the public comments section at the City Council meeting.  She later added, “All we ask is please remove these ordinances that are really hurting us.”

Sign Up for E-News

The ordinance requires beauty salons and barbershops in the city to pay an annual $350 licensing fee to the city. Any business that also operates as a nail salon has to pay an additional $350 fee. Another $100 permit fee is required for any barber shop or salon that stays open past 8:30 p.m.

No action regarding the fees was up for a vote at yesterday’s meeting, but Maldonado said she and other business owners have been asking City Council for months to eliminate the fees.

Council President Carlos Torres told the protesters at last night’s meeting that City Council will reevaluate and make adjustments to the ordinance that will “tremendously” lower the fees.

“The last time time the beauty salons were here, this council did listen and hear your concerns,” Torres said. “We went back as a group and we looked over the whole ordinance. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do for this ordinance that's in effect now, but we are making some changes. We know that $800 is a hardship to business owners.”

He further explained that the council “can't just say that we want [the ordinance] to be changed today” because it needs to go through a process.

A first reading of the amendment to the ordinance will take place on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall chambers, City Clerk Yolanda Roberts told TAP after the meeting. Ordinances are not up for a vote on the first reading, but it gives people a chance to discuss any ordinance during a public comments section.

The initial ordinance was voted on in December 2016. Maldonado, who owns the Elegant Look Beauty Salon on Elizabeth Avenue, said she and other salon owners didn’t know about the new fees until they received letters in the mail from the city in January.

Salon owners at last night’s meeting said they don’t understand why they have to pay city fees in addition to licensing fees to the state. Some salons owners said they are now facing fines for not paying the fees on time too.

One woman began to cry during the public comments section as she explained in Spanish how the fees were affecting her.

“I went to the licensing department of the City Hall to ask them for a payment plan for the licenses … and they told me there's no such thing,” Maldonado said, translating for the woman who spoke in Spanish. “It doesn't exist in Elizabeth. You have to pay.”

Meanwhile, Maldonado said New Providence -- which is a borough -- is the only other municipality in Union County that charges beauty salons and barbershops an annual fee of $68. Maldonado also said City Council used Hoboken as a model for the valuation of fees in Elizabeth, which she says is unfair since Hoboken is in a different county and has a different working class.

“I understand New Providence charges, but we are a big city,” Torres said during the meeting. “Elizabeth is the fourth biggest city [in New Jersey]. So we're not comparing to Hoboken or Jersey City, but we came up with a resolution, a plan that we thought was fair.”

City Council will vote on any planned adjustments to the fee ordinance in September, the city clerk told TAP. 

TAPintoElizabeth.net is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TAPElizabeth.

Download the TAPinto App!  Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Happenings this Week in the City of Elizabeth

June 19, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - Do you what is happening this week in Elizabeth? Here is a list by Mayor Bollwage’s office of events happening around the City.

Tuesday, June 19 - Completion Ceremony 

(11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 40 West Jersey Street, Elizabeth) - The completion ceremony of the NJ Youth Corps of Elizabeth at the Union County College Kellogg Building. 

Wednesday, June 20 - ...

Make Music Roselle Park Lineup Includes Rock Bands, Singer-songwriters, Free Harmonica Lesson

ROSELLE PARK, NJ - The lineup for the first-ever Make Music Roselle Park will include two rock bands, a pair of singer-songwriters, a free beginner harmonica lesson and more.

The event being held on June 21, Make Music Roselle Park is part of Make Music Day, a global music celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and brings people of all ages and skill ...

Freeholder Board Announces Launch of Free Farmers’ Market Vouchers for Seniors

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced that the annual Farmers’ Market voucher program for seniors will begin again this summer. Starting on June 25, income-eligible adults age 60 and up can receive a total of $25 in free vouchers to purchase fresh produce at designated Farmers’ Markets throughout Union County.

The total of $25 is provided in $5 ...

Charges Pending Against Roselle Man Found with More than 40 Dogs Living in Squalor

June 20, 2018

ROSELLE, NJ - A Roselle man will be charged with multiple criminal offenses after more than 40 dogs were discovered living in severely unsanitary and inhumane living conditions in his home last week, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

According to the authorities, members of those two agencies, the ...

Gov. Murphy still pushing a millionaire's tax, won’t say when he'll sign sports betting, weed bills

June 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With a showdown on the state budget looming just 22 days away, Gov. Phil Murphy today re-emphasized his call for a tax on the state’s wealthiest households while hoping to avoid another shutdown of state government.

“Do I still want a millionaire’s tax? The answer is ‘yes,’ “ Murphy said at a press conference at the John ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

Union County Residents Can “Recycle Right” without Plastic Bags

June 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that plastic bags and other excluded items cannot be recycled through their local curbside pick-up programs.

“Union County residents have a good recycling rate compared to other counties in our state, and we want to improve on this record and set a high bar,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Every ...