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Letter to the Editor: Opposes garage sale ordinances




Sustainability leader and Starkville Alderman Jeremiah Dumas is proposing a garage sale ordinance. 


The ordinance means police must enforce it and clerks must handle the paperwork. A study in Carney Point, NJ, showed that permit revenue fell far short of meeting administrative/enforcement expense. That could happen in Starkville. 


Ordinances can be simple or ridiculous. Once an ordinance is passed, it's a simple matter for aldermen to amend that ordinance to make it more restrictive. Some towns control the time of day for sales, other towns control the months sales are allowed. Some ordinances require that the items for sale must be displayed only in the back yard and some prohibit multi-family sales. Some ordinances require that only the property owner can apply for permits, which hinders apartment dwellers and those who rent houses. 


Garage sale ordinances affect zoning. Since Dumas mentioned commercial businesses placing items outside for sale, zoning restrictions and permits could be placed on business owners. What other zoning restrictions must Dumas have in mind? 


Dumas says the proposed ordinance is necessary because, "There's a couple of locations in town that are real eyesore..." (sic) Starkville aldermen should deal with the those responsible for the eyesores rather than restrict law-abiding citizens. 


Garage sales supplement the income of sellers and benefit buyers, who save money on used goods. This is a good thing during these inflationary times. The ordinance discourages transactions. The permit fee is double-speak for another tax. 


The ordinance restrictions include: 


"The items for sale shall be displayed ... no more than 12 continuous hours" 


"The property owner of record shall be responsible for compliance with this Section." 


"No off-site/directional signage shall be allowed." 


The aldermen will have a hearing on July 17, 2012. Please contact your alderman and ask them to vote "no" on the garage sale ordinance or go to the meeting to speak against this ordinance. At the next election, replace those who increase tax and limit freedom. 


Elaine C. Vechorik 





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