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Palm reader says license fee is unfair

A local palm reader who wants to move inside the Crystal River city limits has asked the city to lower what she considers an excessive occupational license fee designed to keep people in her business out of town.

City Council will consider the request Monday, along with City Manager Merv Waldrop's reluctant recommendation to change the current fee.

In a memo to the council this week, Waldrop said he feels the $78.10 per day fee should stay.

"I do not want to see Crystal River become like Cassadaga, with mediums on every street corner," Waldrop wrote, referring to the central Florida town widely known for its colony of spiritualists, mediums and psychics.

But Waldrop said he also thought that palm reader Theresa Johnson's request through attorney Charles Horn should be considered and that city staff should be directed to draw up changes for the council's consideration.

"I do not want the city in a big legal battle over a prohibitive fee which we are likely to lose," Waldrop told the council in the memo. "Possibly the best approach is a lesser fee and some strict requirements for these establishments."

Waldrop agreed that the current fee is higher than that for many other occupational licenses, which vary in cost. Many are less than $78 for an entire year.

Johnson operates her business on Gulf to Lake Highway east of the city but was hoping to move to U.S. 19, which has more traffic, according to Horn's letter to Waldrop.

Horn wrote that "it is self-evident that such a burdensome fee is designed to prohibit the practice of enumerated professions within the city limits of Crystal River and is not a reasonable restriction on the profession.

"As such, it violates my client's right to due process and equal protection under the United States Constitution."