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Newton has levied new fees for Internet sweepstakes businesses that will require a $2,500 fee to be paid per business annually. In addition changes to the cityâ€™s fee schedule requires $1,000 be paid per computer terminal within the businesses.
No dissenting votes were cast in the Newton City Council decision that spawned divided discussion among elected leaders.
â€śPeople invest in a business, and it is a legitimate business. I hate to run anyone out of business on an investment they made by taxing them or giving them a fee that is an exorbitant amount,â€ť said Newton Council member Robert Abernethy Jr. â€śI donâ€™t think it is necessarily a bad thing that we would have a fee and a fee per machine, but I think that is a lot of money.â€ť
Council members Wes Weaver and Mary Bess Lawing argued that by setting fees lower than surrounding towns might cause an influx of internet sweepstakes businesses from surrounding communities into Newton.
â€śI think you underestimate how many would be here if we go below (the fees other cities have set,â€ť Weaver said. â€śI am more worried about what is going on in out own backyard than what is going on down the street.â€ť
Newton City Manager Todd Clark said businesses operating within the city are expected to comply with the new fee structure immediately.