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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Nearly a year after a new law was created in Toledo for Internet cafes operating within city limits to pay annual licensing fees, only a handful of Internet cafes are properly licensed with the city.
Councilman Mike Collins crafted the legislation last year, and city records show only four locations are properly licensed, netting the city $67,400 in fees.
"At least to see revenue was being brought into the general fund as we would expect from a barber shop or any other establishment," said Collins.
Tom Carpenter owns two Cybertime Internet cafes in Toledo. Both are licensed, and he says he doesn't mind paying the fees.
"If the city has a regulation in place, then we're trying to do what the people that's doing right in the industry wants, and that's regulation and to make this a long-term thing," said Carpenter.
So what about those cafes which are operating and haven't paid their license fees to the city? The finance department does not have the authority to issue a citation or close down a business, and enforcement has not been coordinated with the Toledo Police Department.
"Frankly, I don't think our police department has the time. We certainly don't have the resources in our police department to go after these places," said Collins.
Efforts by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and many state lawmakers aim to close down the Internet cafe industry in Ohio.
"I don't see Internet cafes surviving this, therefore, I think it'll soon be a moot issue," said Collins.