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Harder to peddle

by Dolores Hamilton
In the future, those who want to conduct door-to-door sales in Iowa Park will be operating under tougher regulations, following action taken at Monday’s meeting of the city council.

Because of a recent unfavorable experience concerning door-to-door sales people, the council members determined that there is a need for more stringent regulation of solicitation and peddling in the city, and is necessary to protect the citizens from fraud, crime and invasion of privacy.

“A few weeks back we had some people in town peddling cleaning products, and we had a lot of complaints from citizens regarding the highhanded techniques these peddlers were using,” said Mayor Joe Ward. “It was far from desirable the tactics they used.”

Additions to the city’s ordinance that deals with permit application requirements allows background checks on the company and each individual, and also requires a solicitation permit card that has a photo of the solicitor and his/her name.

The following are not required to have a permit: newspaper carriers; farmers who sell agricultural products that were raised or grown by them; locally-based non-profit organizations; religious proselytizing or distribution of religious literature; political speech;or canvassers who attempt only to distribute handbills or to solicit political support or to determine opinions or sentiments.

City residents may prohibit peddling or solicitation by calling city hall and having their property placed on the “no contact” list.

After receiving a request from the Iowa Park CISD to participate in an advertising campaign to promote the school district and community’s assets, council members voted to join in.

The campaign consists of tv spots that will run for four months, May through August, showing what Iowa Park has to offer families. The school system, quality of life programs such as the municipal pool and spray park, walking track, parks and youth programs will be featured.

Cost of the promotion is $45,000, and the school asked if the city and 4B Corporation could help with one third of the cost, or $15,000. The council voted to give $5,000, and if 4B Corporation doesn’t agree to give the remainder, put it on the city’s May agenda to possibly increase the amount.

Only one change was made when the council voted to adopt tax abatement guidelines and criteria governing tax abatement incentives within the city. The tax abatement policy must be reviewed and re-adopted every two years.

The change involved the increase in minimum investment of property improvements from $100,000 to $200,000.

In the public hearing to determine if a 1984 Chevrolet pickup parked on public property at 522 South Yosemite meets the definition of a junked vehicle, it was reported that the registered owner of the vehicle is deceased, and the state has a lien on the property, but it is unsure if the pickup is included. City Manager Mike Price said he had contacted the state around the first of April but had not received a response. The council voted to give the estate and the state 30 days to resolve the issue before ordering an abatement.

A group of girls from Girl Scout Brownie Troop #8425 attended the meeting to ask permission to plant drought-resistant plants in city flower beds, and a waiver of the handbill ordinance to allow the troop to distribute flyers at ParkFest. Permission was granted after the girls explained to the council what type of plants are drought resistant. displayed posters they had made for the library, and journal books dealing with water conservation.

The city manager gave a report on the city’s current financial condition. Price said that General Fund revenue was at 78 percent and expenses 50 percent, and Utility Fund revenue was at 45 percent, with expenses coming in at a little under. “We forecast it to be a lean year, and we’re where we need to be,” he said
In other business, the council approved a lease agreement with Pinnacle Network Solutions, L.L. C. for antenna space on the water tower located adjacent to U.S. 287 North, and ground space on the property on which the tower is located. They also authorized the use of the city’s building at 500 W. Highway as a storage/claim facility for the Red Cross to use, if needed, for items donated to help individuals displaced by the recent fire storms.

At the beginning of the meeting, the mayor recognized city employees, police officers, and members of the volunteer fire department for their efforts during the fires. He read a proclamation proclaiming Monday, April 25, 2011 as a day to honor these people for “their outstanding efforts in combating the Iowa Park Wildfires.”

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