Heflin City Council considers door-to-door sales ordinance
by Laura Camper
news@cleburnenews.com
Aug 27, 2013 | 3084 views |  0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Heflin City Council is considering an ordinance to regulate door-to-door sales, peddling and panhandling.

The proposal, presented during the council's meeting Tuesday, would require door-to-door salespeople to apply for a monthly certificate to sell in the city limits, said City Clerk Shane Smith.

“We’re just trying to protect the citizens by doing this,” Smith said. “We can’t say, you can’t do it, but we can regulate it.”

Mayor Rudy Rooks said the law is similar to one that took effect in Calhoun County this month.

If passed by the council, the law would require salespeople to register each month with their name, address, phone number, business as well as the corporate officers, partners and managers in the company. The workers must also provide proof that they work for that company. The salesperson would have to provide a summary of the presentation and a statement as to whether or not he or she has ever been convicted of a felony. People convicted of a felony could be denied a permit under the proposed law. The salesperson would also have to provide two photos taken in the last 60 days. If salespeople meet the requirements of the ordinance, they will be issued a certificate, which they would be required to display to residents. The certificates would cost $25 a month, Smith said.

Door-to-door sales will only be allowed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and if people don’t want solicitors to come to their door they can post “No Solicitation” signs on or near their doors.

“Churches, schools, Girl Scouts, YMCAs, nonprofit organizations like that would be exempt from the ordinance,” Smith said.

But Councilman Elvin Henson said he thought the $25-a-month fee may be too much.

“I believe that’s going to discourage a lot of people,” Henson said.

Henson agreed the salespeople should pay something, but he thought it should be less. He didn’t specify an amount.

Rooks said the purpose of the ordinance was to control the salespeople coming into town.

“We don’t want to discourage our entrepreneurs,” Rooks said.

Councilman Shannon Roberts said the council members would have a chance to review the ordinance and then could make any revisions at the next meeting.

The city received complaints last week about one salesman being manipulative and another one selling adult toys, Rooks said.

During any given week, the city might receive five to 10 complaints about door-to-door salespeople, Smith said.

The ordinance would also ban panhandling, or begging for money or goods, in any public place in Heflin. It also would ban people from selling merchandise from a vehicle parked within rights of way. People would be able to park on private property and sell from a vehicle, Smith said.

In other business the council:

-Heard that the budget is being revised to include an increase in group insurance rates. It will also have to be revised to reflect vacation buy-back from employees. The city has a policy to buy unused vacation time that has been accrued during the year from employees. That could cost the city up to about $26,000, Smith said.

-Approved an annual salary of $50,668 for newly appointed Heflin Police Chief A.J. Benefield.

-Approved changing the way the city advertises ordinances from publishing it in the newspaper to posting it in three public places – Heflin City Hall, Cleburne County Courthouse and the United States Post Office on Almon Street. Smith said state law allows cities that had populations of less than 2,000 according to the 1950 U.S. Census to post in public places.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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