Ordinance would curb solicitation

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, May 9, 2013

Many Thorsby residents were understandably edgy following an Easter Sunday robbery and kidnapping.

The town’s police chief, Rodney Barnett, said feelings of insecurity were made worse in the days following the incident by alarm system company representatives going door-to-door trying to make a sale.

Barnett said such solicitors have historically skirted the town’s requirement to obtain business licenses to make such sales. So, he was willing to help when a resident suggested the town draft an ordinance to limit solicitations by imposing a $500 fine for violators.

“We’re not trying to cut them out; we’re just trying to put some guidelines on it,” Barnett said.

A proposed ordinance states its purpose is to reduce crimes like “fraud, identity theft, larceny, burglary and home invasion;” and to protect residents from “annoying, intrusive or dangerous solicitations.”

The ordinance was drafted by Barnett but would have to be approved by the Thorsby Town Council before taking effect.

The ordinance was brought up at the council’s meeting on Monday but tabled after a concern was raised about whether such a measure would affect school groups or scouts.

Barnett said he plans to insert language that the ordinance would not apply to non-profit organizations or efforts and bring the ordinance back up at the council’s May 20 meeting.

Along with defining soliciting, the ordinace makes it unlawful for a person to solicit Thorsby residents outside of the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and without obtaining a business license and having an invitation or appointment from the occupant of a residence.

A business license needed by a solicitor costs $45 and would be valid for one year.