CLINTON — A potential Clinton ordinance pertaining to pawnbroker or secondhand store operations is continuing to make its way to official adoption as local business owners work with officials to craft legislation that is as non-invasive as possible.
The ordinance was read for a second time at Tuesday’s Clinton City Council meeting, needing one more reading to become law. The draft has clearly defined protocol for the sale and purchase of items at city pawn shops, consignment shops, secondhand stores, and others of the like, requiring owners and employees to carefully document transactions in the form of electronic filing.
Drawing skepticism from some local shop owners, the legislation doesn’t infringe upon the rights of or place any unnecessary burden on business operations and is meant to make the tracking of stolen goods an easier process, Clinton police and city officials have said.
Tuesday night’s council meeting featured the voice of Unique and More owner Gary Doran, who like others has questioned whether his business can support the potential burden of the new filing method.
“I’m all about working together and doing the right thing, and I want to do the right thing; I’m not trying to be the bad guy and say ‘No, I refuse to do what you want me to do,’” Doran told the council Tuesday night. “But I want to stay in business...I think my ticket items that are coming in, I think there are far better things that a cop can sit and look through.”
Police and city officials are continuing to work with owners like Doran, as well as Don’s Jewelry owners Dan and Sheralyn Bartels, who have also publicly expressed skepticism to the council.
Those officials have ensured the concerned group that they would be willing to meet, discuss the concerns, and potentially craft the ordinance to either exempt their operations or cultivate language in the legislation that quells their fears.
“That’s something we could sit down and determine – which businesses would be part of this and would fall under the ordinance,” Clinton Police Detective John Davis said Tuesday. “As we sit down once this is passed, we would go out and meet the businesses we find out fall under this category.”
Davis reiterated that the ordinance is purely focused on identifying and confiscating stolen items that come through the doors of the businesses; not scrutinizing the day-to-day operations of the businesses themselves.
“Obviously we don’t want (Doran) to go out of business, and this isn’t to put any new hardship on his businesses, but it’s about working together,” Davis said.
Clinton City Attorney Pat O’ Connell counseled Tuesday that business owners such as Doran do have legitimate cases when worrying about literal language in the ordinance; Mayor Mark Vulich then suggested that police discretion would be used in situations when it would be necessary.
“We understand what your concern is,” Vulich told Doran. “Literally, I can completely understand where you’re coming from. We do have the option to use police discretion to actually exempt you from this.”
The ordinance will come before the council at 5 p.m. July 23 at City Hall for a possible third reading and official adoption.