Petal aldermen remove fee for yard sale permits

By HASKEL BURNS,

Permits for yard sales in Petal will once again be gratis, as the Petal Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance removing the former $5 fee for the permits.

Ward 5 Alderman Tony Ducker said the $5 fee had been applied because some residents were holding “never-ending” yard sales, violating a city ordinance that states residents may only obtain one permit every two months or four permits every 12 months.

“The $5 was just really kind of taking care of our handling and paperwork and time spent in it,” he said. “But at the same time, the person that was paying $5 wasn’t getting a whole lot for it.

“Most people do play by the rules – they don’t interfere in their neighbors’ lives with the ‘never-ending’ garage sale thing. So I do appreciate (the administration) looking at that and saying, ‘This is something where we can take government out of the fee-payer and the taxpayers’ lives.’”

Although there will no longer be a fee, residents are still encouraged to come to City Hall to receive yard sale permits so officials can keep track of the number of sales being held throughout the city.

“There are people who complain that their neighbors are constantly having garage sales, and that’s not the purpose of a garage sale,” Mayor Hal Marx said. “It’s supposed to be a few times a year to clean out your closets, have your family bring stuff over.

“We have some people who are almost running a business out of their house, and that brings people into the neighborhood that maybe the neighbors don’t like the crowds coming in and all that. So again, (the permits) are for the protection of your neighbors, not because we’re trying to control your life or anything.”

City officials also will look into removing permit fees in other areas, such as home repairs that don’t require city inspection.

“If you’re repairing your porch, or doing something that we don’t send out an inspector to make sure it’s done properly, there’s no reason for us to charge a fee for that – I think you should just go ahead and fix your house,” Marx said. “Now, if it’s electrical wiring, plumbing, maybe even roofing or things like that, we might still need to be involved in that process.

“I do think that sometimes … government, we get too involved in peoples’ lives. And we’re trying to step back a little bit on that.”

In other action Tuesday, aldermen voted to:

n Authorize adjustments to water service bills to three city properties because of water leaks: $510 to 1505 Carterville Rd., $371 to 219 N. Main St. and $81 to 603 S. George St.

n Pay an invoice in the amount of $6,000 for fireworks for the July 3 Star Spangled Celebration on the River.

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