S&H Towing and Repair has been operating in Corbin nearly a year without purchasing a business license. It is the only local business that did not purchase a license in 2012.
A south Corbin auto repair shop has operated for nearly an entire year without a city-required business license, and local officials say they are finally poised to take action in the near future to shut it down if fines and fees aren’t paid soon.
S&H Towing and Repair, located on Cumberland Falls Hwy. near I-75 Exit 25, is the only business in the city of Corbin that has not purchased a license to do business for the year 2012. By ordinance, the city requires anyone conducting business within the city limits to purchase a license. The fees for licenses vary depending on the type of business and the deadline for purchase each is April 30.
“It’s frustrating,” said Corbin Code Enforcement Officer Frank Burke, who cited S&H Towing last year for failure to purchase a business license. “I never would have thought it would have been an issue to begin with.”
“It’s just a paper thing, get a license to do business in Corbin. Everybody has to do it.”
Burke said that in October of 2012, he was given a list of 38 local businesses that had not purchased business licenses. He issued notices of violation to each one, and all but three eventually paid — Design House Jewelry, Swirls Cupcakery and S&H Towing. In December, the remaining three were ordered by the city’s three-member Code Enforcement Board to each pay a $200 fine and obtain a license within seven days or close.
Swirls Cupcakery and Design House Jewelry complied. S&H Towing and Repair was the lone holdout.
Corbin City Attorney Bob Hammons said he wanted to get permission from the city’s Board of Commissioners to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against S&H Towing, enforcing the Code Board’s order, in March but a paperwork snafu stalled the process. A copy of the order had never been formally delivered to S&H Towing.
Burke said a copy he sent by certified mail was returned. He took a copy of the order personally to S&H Towing owner Butch Hart following the March meeting of the Board of Commissioners. He said he’s personally visited the repair shop “at least six times” regarding the issue with no results.
“We have talked to them and cautioned them and they continue to say they are working on a sale of the property, but they will be down to pay it and then they don’t show up,” Burke said.
The issue was set again to be considered by the Board of Commissioners in April, but didn’t come up because Hammons was out of town at a conference.
“I plan to get authorization at the next meeting to file suit against them,” Hammons said. “I’ve tried to send a message to him [Hart] for him to call me, but he won’t.”
In an interview Tuesday, Hart said he had been in negotiations with Liquor World owner Wesley Morgan to sell the property. Morgan had an option to buy the property contingent on him obtaining a liquor license to operate a liquor store. He planned on building an 11,000 square foot Liquor World store at the site.
“I thought I had a deal to sell the property but it didn’t pan out,” Hart said.
Hart added that his wife is in the process of purchasing a business license and paying all fines.
City officials aren’t so sure.
Burke said he’s been told numerous times that Hart plans to buy a license and pay his fines, but it never happens. As of Tuesday, Deputy City Collector Roberta Webb said S&H Towing had not bought a business license for 2012 or 2013. She added that the cost of a license for S&H is based on its gross receipts for the previous year.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said he was unaware of the ongoing situation regarding S&H Towing, but planned to follow up on the issue. He added that it was unfair for one business to continue to operate unimpeded, without a license, while others follow the law.