Back from the dead

No, I have not left Metroblogging and no, I have not vanished. I have simply been busy running a restaurant — and as those of you in the biz can tell you, it’s an all-consuming thing in many ways. Not that I’ve ceased having a Life — it’s just that my time for writing has been a bit short over the past couple of months. Thanks to those of you who have asked.

I’ve always said, despite opinions otherwise, that I’ve been pretty happy with how the day-to-day things run at City Hall. I know our mayor can be a buffoon, but the staffers have always been helpful to me and my business. I have had to work quite a bit with Councilwoman Stacy Head’s staff to push through my beer and wine license (it’s coming!) and they have been tremendous. I’ve also gotten quick answers from the office staff at Finance , Permitting and the other offices.

But I tell ya — my attempt this week to correct some paperwork led to my discovery that my business no longer existed. And don’t try to tell them otherwise. It was like a living person trying to convince the Social Security Administration they are indeed alive.

Back in early January, I mailed back my occupancy license renewal. This is the official city document that says, yes, you run a business and, yes, you will be paying your monthly sales taxes. The business had no income in 2007, so it was not a big deal. But as of January 1st, I was officially IN business so I had to renew. Come the end of January, I had to pay the January sales taxes — but the renewal had not arrived. So down I went to City Hall yesterday (with checkbook in hand) to pay said taxes.

I did not exist.

Nowhere in the city’s computer system was there a record of my business. No account number — nothing. We tried the corporate name, the resataurant name, the address, my personal name — everything. Nada. Zip.

….so I filled out paperwork to renew my existence. It’s only a short form, but it kicks off a variety of inspections, dissections and other things that I girded myself to face (yet again) so I could resume my taxpaying life.

In today’s mail, I get a notice from the city (from the SAME OFFICE) saying my renewal was being sent back because I failed to include a $50 renewal fee (dumb damn me). But, thank God, the letter also included MY ACCOUNT NUMBER (apparently the key to All That Is Worthy), so I was able to mail back my renewal check AND submit my January sales taxes. Problem solved — at least apparently.

This is the state we find ourselves in as a city these days — that the same office that mails me a notice cannot find me in its own computer system.

Since I was apparently a non-entity for the month of January, I asked a woman what I should do about my January sales taxes. She told me, “don’t worry about it.” Huh? You can bet that would have come back to bite me in the ass later on. At least now I have a financial record that they’ve been paid.

That said, everyone I dealt with was friendly and really went out of their way to try to help. So it’s all good for now.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

10 Comments so far

  1. GentillyGirl (unregistered) on February 20th, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

    Craig, Info about everything here flows through what passes for my brain… where is your place and the name please?

    We’d like to give it a spin.


  2. Craig (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 6:30 am

    I won’t spam this site to promote my business. But you can find it by linking around a bit off my profile. Thanks.


  3. Scott Harney (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 8:10 am

    The place is in the lower garden district in the 1900 block of Magazine between what used to be "The Jackson" restaurant and a salon. The 1900 block of Magazine is the last block that it runs one way from Downtown.

    That help?


  4. Chris Martel (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 8:30 am

    Been there twice already and it’s great!


  5. Puddinhead (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 8:41 am

    I’m not at all surprised about your problems with the occupancy license (doesn’t that sound more like a license to "occupy" something rather than a license to hold an "occupation"?). My wife has done jewelry repair (pearl and bead-type jewelry) for many of the local jewelry stores as an established and licensed business at the same address (a home office) for just over twenty years. This past year she gets her license from the city and notices down at the bottom she’s no longer listed as a "jewelry repair" business, but instead is apparently registered with the city as a "household repair" business, whatever exactly that is.

    The first trip to City Hall wasn’t particularly productive; their records going back four years were showing her as a household repair concern for each year. They weren’t able to go back any farther than that to check because–get this–the records for everything older than that are kept on a different kind of computer system, and the only person in city government who knows how to access that system wasn’t in that day. A few phone calls, and another visit on another day, and we hooked up with she who was supposed to be THE woman. A little discussion, and we were assured it would be taken care of…seeing as she’d been getting a license as a jewelry repairer since 1986 no matter WHAT the records now said, that seemed not too much to ask.

    Some time later she gets a new occupational license in the mail…and according to the new license, my wife is now operating an auto repair shop in our house. On the next trip to City Hall she explains how she’s a jewelry repairer, got a license saying she’s an household repairer, tried to get it fixed, etc…the woman in the licensing department’s first response to my wife is "You’re not allowed to have an auto repair shop in a residential area–how did you get this license? This is a zoning violation."

    We’ll try again at some later date.


  6. Jack Ware (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

    Best Fish Sammich Ever!!


  7. Maitri (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

    Best Damned Fish Sammich EVAR! And, Jack, are you the Jack on the menu, or was I just seeing things?


  8. Craig (unregistered) on February 24th, 2008 @ 1:03 am

    Yes, that would be our very own Jack.


  9. Liz (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

    Hey Craig…good to see you back online! And I promise, I will stop by your place next time I’m in town. Over New Year’s I sat in the brand-new pub that must be right next door to you. Drank beer while watching my Cowboys lose a painful game.


  10. laurie2 on March 8th, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

    I got in!

    Laurie



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