Valley Grande ordinance would focus on scammers

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

VALLEY GRANDE — Door-to-door sales aren’t illegal in Valley Grande, but one city council member is working to prepare an ordinance making it more difficult for scammers to knock on doors within the city limits.

City Council member Kenneth Martin gave an update on the ordinance during Monday’s city council meeting, saying the issue had come to his attention after several calls from residents last fall.

“I have worked the last few months researching other city’s ordinances limiting door-to-door solicitation,” Martin said. “I know that’s been a big problem around here lately, and a lot of times these have turned out to be scams instead of actual salesmen.”

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Currently, door-to door salesmen are required to have a business license, but Martin said his ordinance would give the city and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department more power to enforce that legislation.

“The sheriff said they had no teeth now because we don’t have an ordinance about door-to-door solicitation,” Martin said “All they could do is tell them to stop doing business until they got a business license.”

Martin said his ordinance would target scammers and not civic or charitable organizations that knock on doors within the city limits.

“This isn’t for non-profits, fire departments, schools or churches,” Martin said. “It’s just businesses.”

Martin shared his own experience of coming home and confronting three men selling bottles of surface cleaner who would not leave when he asked.

“I ran them off my property and they went to my neighbor’s house,” Martin said. “I would like to implement something that would protect the citizens.”

Council member Donna Downs said she supported the work Martin was doing to pursue the ordinance, but she said residents could also do their part.

“The citizens of Valley Grande just need to say ‘let me see your license’,” Downs said. “But sometimes, they don’t know to say that. I know I have said it so many times. “

Mayor Wayne Labbe joined the council in urging Martin to continue his research, and urged him to be in contact with the sheriff’s department as he moved forward.

“I agree with what you are doing,” Labbe said. “I say continue to work on it and lets take a look at it and then we’ll get with the sheriff’s department.”