Adairsville flea market ordinance raises concerns
by Matt Shinall
Jan 13, 2012 | 2307 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of concerned citizens attended Adairsville's city council meeting Thursday to voice disapproval of a proposed ordinance to regulate flea markets.

The ordinance, which received its first reading Thursday, proved controversial to flea market operators and vendors. New rules to ward off the sale of stolen property would mandate record keeping on the acquisition of goods for retail sale and require vendors to provide a valid business license.

"This regulates flea markets like it regulates a pawn shop, probably for a lot of the same reasons," said City Manager Pat Crook. "If a pawn shop might be known as a place for fencing stolen property, why not a flea market? So, it requires they keep inventory of what they buy and sale."

Most present Thursday were concerned chiefly with the requirement for individual vendors to obtain a business license, a $75 annual fee. While the ordinance section detailing record keeping is part of state code, a business license requirement was inspired by the policies of Kennesaw and other cities.

Jonathon Phillips, manager of Parkway Flea Market, spoke against the ordinance to help vendors who sale used goods to raise meager earnings.

"There's a lot of folks on a fixed income that just sets up for half a day and sometimes don't even sell anything," Phillips said. "A lot of people just come up once because they're distressed -- they're losing their home or their car, or both.

"It's putting on a pinch the people that's on a limited income. ... When you're charging them a $75 yearly fee, a lot of them don't even have the money for the rent for one day."

Several other citizens voiced similar opinions on the matter. An ordinance for pawnbrokers requiring updated procedures toward permitting, reporting, location and outside storage is also proposed. A second reading of these ordinances will be held next month.

A scheduled water and sewage rate increase was postponed six months after approval from the council. This measure is in light of successful revenues following the initial rate increase in January 2011. After three years of growing deficits in the water and sewage funds, a structured rate increase was approved in order to offset rising costs and make needed repairs.

A motion was approved by the council to adopt a re-stated agreement of the pension plan with changes, including updated IRS regulations and the definition of a required pension committee.

With the retirement of Finance Officer Roger Freeman, the city approved Thursday an agreement with Tony Chastain to perform part-time accounting work for the city.

Lastly, the council nominated and approved Councilman Buddy Bagley to serve as mayor pro-tem for the duration of his term.

Prior to the commencement of official business, the city posthumously recognized 20 years of service from Adairsville Police Department Maj. Larry Miolen. A plaque was presented to APD Chief Robert Jones to be hung in the police station. Miolen succumbed to cancer in 2009.

"It was a great honor to meet a man who dedicated not just his life to the city but his entire life to his job, and he is greatly missed," Jones said. "He was a friend, not just to me but to the city.

"I know that I miss him, I know that this department misses him and I know the city misses him."