Licensed sales can resume at SIST businesses

Shawano Leader, Wisconsin/January 3, 2010

The payment last week of past due property and room tax debts means most licensed sales can resume again at Shawano businesses owned and operated by subsidiaries of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology, Inc.

It will also be welcomed news for the Shawano Country Tourism Council, which will get a boost to its operating budget from nearly $29,000 in room taxes collected.

SIST paid about $500,000 - delivered to the city and county in cash last Tuesday - to settle delinquent taxes, including some due since 2007.

SIST paid the city $43,160 in real estate/personal property and room taxes dating back to 2008 on seven properties. The county assumed city property tax debt older than that.

Shawano City Clerk/Treasurer Marlene Brath then issued tobacco, soda and amusement licenses for the three People’s Express gas stations owned by Midwest Oil of Wisconsin and the Kiryat and AmericInn hotels owned by Midwest Hotels and Motels.

Applications for licenses permitting the sale of beer and liquor still need to be approved by the Common Council, which will likely take them up at this month’s council meeting on January 13.

The licenses, which must be renewed annually, expire at midnight on June 30 every year and new licenses cannot be issued to businesses where the property owner has any outstanding debts owed the city.

Licenses were denied to SIST subsidiaries because of unpaid debts in July 2008 for the third year in a row.

Several businesses that lease properties from SIST or its subsidiaries kept their licenses by paying off the property taxes due on behalf of their landlords.

In 2007, SIST subsidiaries were without licenses for about three weeks before $195,820 owed the city was paid by wire transfer. The amount didn’t cover all SIST properties, but was enough to cover delinquent taxes for all SIST entities owning and operating businesses.

In 2006, payment checks were returned twice to the city for non-sufficient funds, sparking a month-long kerfuffle in which licenses already issued were pulled and the city demanded the bad checks be covered with a cash payment.

SIST at the time accused the city of impeding payment by not accepting a wire transfer and calling the demand for $200,734 in cash unreasonable.

The city said it was a standard policy for returned checks and has not required cash for the subsequent payments by SIST.

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