November 13, 2012 10:09:48 AM
WEST POINT -- The West Point Police Department plans to crack down on unauthorized vendors.
Police Chief Tim Brinkley told the Daily Times Leader that people who continue to set up shops to sell their goods without a permit will first be issued a warning and asked to move along.
"We're going to start shutting them down. It's not fair to our local businesses that pay taxes, buy insurance and they expect to be supported by local residents who patronize their business," Brinkley said.
If unauthorized sells continue, Brinkley said the vendors will be issued a citation. Violation of the city's peddler ordinance carries a fine up to $1,000.
In Columbus, anyone selling items on commercial property must have the permission of the property owner and be properly licensed with a business license or peddler's license. A peddler's license allows individuals to sell items door-to-door. A background check is required through the Columbus Police Department, and Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen must sign off on it before it will be issued.
Brinkley said non-licensed vendors hurt both the city and businesses.
"When somebody stops and sets up shop on the side of the road and potentially takes their business it's not fair to them and it's not fair to the city,'' he said. "People who come through our area who stop and sell may actually be in violation of several laws because we don't know if some of this merchandise may be contrabands from other states or may be counterfeit goods," Brinkley said.
Even if residents wish to sell items in their yard they must first obtain a permit from City Hall to do so. There is no fee for yard sale permits.
Vendors wanting to sell food items must be inspected and approved by the Clay County Health Department.
There are exceptions for certain individuals or organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, religious or charitable organizations, schools and those who hold a valid transit vendor license issued by the state of Mississippi.