Vendors who set up to sell items on city streets or private yards may soon be paid a visit by police to ensure that they have the proper permits.
The subject came up Tuesday during a meeting of the Pine Bluff City Council’s Development Committee with questions from Alderman Bill Brumett, who is a member of the committee, and Alderman Win Trafford, who is not.
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington contacted Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant, who sent Deputy Chief Kelven Hadley to the meeting to explain what the department is currently doing.
Hadley said the two busiest times for street vendors are Valentine’s Day and homecoming at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He said officers who check those vendors give them a verbal warning if they don’t have a permit, giving them the change to obtain one.
Washington suggested a ticketing process where offenders would receive one copy of the ticket, which would bear the name, address and phone number of the offender, with a second copy that could be turned in to the collector’s office.
To deal with repeat offenders, Hadley said officers could write information reports and also notify police dispatchers when they check out at the site of a rummage sale or the like.
Alderman Glen Brown Jr., who is chairman of the committee, said that most of the rummage sales, yard sales, etc., take place on weekends when city code enforcement officers are not working and city offices are closed.
“Most should know by Friday if they’re going to set up,” Washington said.
Brumett raised specific questions about food trucks that are not licensed and not paying fees set by the Advertising and Promotions Commission for selling food.
“We don’t care what they’re doing,” Brumett said. “We just want them to be properly permitted.”
Brown said the permits should be large enough to be seen clearly.
Evelyn Horton, who heads the city’s Quality of Life Division, said she recently saw a person setting up to sell items at Sixth Avenue and Blake Street, and when she stopped to ask about a permit, the man said he did not have one.
“I told him to just put his stuff back in his truck until he got a permit,” Horton said.
Washington said she would set up a meeting with City Collector Sharon Johnson, Hadley and herself Wednesday to discuss ways to handle the process of ensuring that vendors have the proper permits.
Also on Tuesday, a proposed ordinance to deal with the owners of burned out and damaged structures who receive insurance settlements but then abandon the property was recommended for approval by the committee.
The ordinance says that in those cases, the city is left to pay for demolition and removal of the structure, and the only thing that happens to the owner of the property is that a lien is placed against the property.
Under the proposed ordinance, the Fire and Emergency Services Department and Police Department will be required to report the address of any burned out structure within three days, and the code enforcement division will inspect the structure to determine if it fits the description of a burned out structure.
That will also occur within three business days. They will then take steps to notify the owner of the property of their obligation to remediate the structure, as well as the city’s intention to declare the structure a public nuisance.
Owners of sites that are determined to be burned out structures who fail to raze or remove the structure, or who fail to obtain the necessary permits to repair the structure and who have received insurance proceeds, are considered guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of $1,000 and shall also be personally liable for the costs incurred by the city to remediate the structure, plus administrative and court costs which could be entered as a judgment against the property owners.