WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (5/22/13) - A Special Business License Ordinance was a hot topic at the latest Clay City Council meeting, spurring a lot of discussion from council members and the city clerk.
“A few weeks ago I received a lot of calls from residents concerned about a group of girls going house to house with conflicting stories,” said City Clerk Jullianna Rhye. “One said it was for a class while another one told residents they were part of a contest.”
The women, all appearing to be in their twenties, were going door to door trying to sell magazines to Clay residents. They asked for credit card information and insisted on coming into the house, even if the home owner wasn’t interested in buying anything.
Rhye contacted the Clay Police Department and the Webster County Sheriff's Department, and sent word to the young women that their presence was requested at the city building.
“Three of the girls came into the office,” said Ryhe. “They said that the people who were calling were all lying. When I asked for IDs, two of the girls said they didn’t have one, even though they were clearly old enough to drive. The third gave me a fake ID.”
By the time law enforcement officers arrived in Clay, the group of women had left town.
“When I was telling (Patrolman) Lonnie Rogers about this, he said that this happened quite often when he was with the Madisonville Police Department,” Rhye told the council. “He said that Madisonville has a special business license that these kind of people have to get if they want to do business within the city limits.”
Everyone agreed that they did not want to do anything that would hinder businesses located within the city, nor did they want to cause difficulty with vendors and other companies that did business with local companies. The target was only out of town ‘peddlers’ who went door to door in the residential neighborhoods.
“You don’t come into our town and treat our people that way,” Rhye said. “If you come in the right way, you’ll never find a friendlier town. But I feel like if we aren’t here to defend our residents, we shouldn’t be here.”
The council instructed city attorney Ben Leonard to present an ordinance at the next council meeting that would allow the city to track peddlers and other people who tried to sell goods or services door to door.
In other business, Fire Chief Jeremy Moore reported that in April the Clay Fire Department made one fire run, while Clay Rescue responded to eight calls. He also reported that CERT training would conclude on May 28, 2013.
Moore also reported that he hoped to go after the fire departments new pickup next week. At the April meeting the council approved a request from Moore to accept a vehicle from the Forestry Service. It is available to the fire department as a long term, no charge loan, and will allow two older service vehicles to be retired from the fire department’s fleet.
“Someone asked me about the city using city funds to purchase a storm shelter only for the use of city employees,” councilman Paul Cowan said. “We can’t spend money on one particular organization or church, they want to know how we can do this?”
“The shelter is designed so that if a tornado hits, there will be city employees here to run the city after the storm,” said mayor Rick Householder. “If you’re in the city building, you can go into the shelter. We’re not going to keep anyone out, but it was bought and designated for city employees.”
Last month the council approved the purchase of the 8’X14’ shelter. The total price is $5,411.50, but the city will only be responsible for about $650 of that. Of the remaining amount, 75 percent will come from a FEMA grant, and the state will pay 12 percent.
In other business, the city council held the first reading of their 2013-2014 budget. Water and sewer were the highest amounts, with expected revenue and expenditures of $273,844 and $401,777.
“Overall the way it looks, revenue is down and expenditures are up,” Paul Cowan said.
“In water, gas and sewer our revenue is up,” Rhye reported. “But we don’t see any way that anyone can get a raise this year. We just can’t afford it.”
The Clay City Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the city building.
J-E News Editor
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