City of Riverside votes to charge riverboat with 4 percent tax

The city of Riverside will start taxing the Coosa Queen riverboat, which loads and unloads passengers at the city’s Riverside Landing marina.

RIVERSIDE -- The council rejected a proposal to charge the Coosa Queen riverboat a $40 trip fee for each trip that leaves the Riverside Landing, but Mayor Rusty Jessup said the business will begin paying a 4 percent tax on its gross receipts.

Councilman Johnny Osborn made a motion to charge the Coosa Queen riverboat and businesses like it that use the marina a $40 trip fee for each trip it makes from the city facility.

He said the business has only paid the city about $138 each year for a business license.

“We furnish parking and launch space and get nothing,” Osborn said.

Osborn had addressed the council about the issue at a previous council meeting, but the matter was tabled so the mayor could look into the city tax ordinance.

Jessup said the business could be taxed under an amusement ordinance.

He told the council Tuesday that the Coosa Queen would now be charged a 4 percent tax on its gross receipts.

Jessup also made it known he was against charging the Coosa Queen a flat trip rate.

“I do not want to do this,” he said. “That’s a good profitable business … We have a way to address this. I encourage the council to vote against this.”

Jessup said the Coosa Queen is a good ambassador for the city and brings people from all over to Riverside.

He told the council that the city would not collect back taxes on the business.

The council unanimously rejected Osborn’s motion. Councilman Todd Pierce was not present for the meeting.

Councilman Jimmy Hollander said after the meeting that the city hires a company to collect taxes from businesses in Riverside, and that the Coosa Queen was just overlooked.

“They just slipped through the cracks,” Hollander said.

He also said the Coosa Queen is a good business for Riverside to have.

“They have always been good to the city,” Hollander said. “They are very accommodating to the city and they help bring attention to Riverside.”

In other matters Tuesday night, the council approved an agreement with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office to house the city’s inmates.

Jessup said the agreement is the same as last year’s.

“There are no changes,” he said. “It’s just a renewal.”

The council also gave the go-ahead to the Riverside Beautification Organization to place a sign in the city’s park, designating the area around the middle pond, Pond No. 3, as a natural habitat area.

The group also announced the organization will hold its 11th annual Riverside Poker Run on Saturday June 15. This is the organization’s biggest fundraiser. For more information about the Poker Run, contact Teresa Hammond at 256-238-2285.

City officials also announced City Hall will be closed next Monday for Memorial Day.