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Kilgore council bans door-to-door sales

By Glenn Evans
Nov. 26, 2012 at 11 p.m.

KILGORE - City council members were unanimous Monday in tightening their ordinance governing door-to-door sales calls in response to a residents survey knocking the practice.

The council also established a separate budget to cover start-up costs from Kilgore's newly acquired golf course and country club, and heard a staff presentation on creating a wood-chipping site for residents to bring limbs and take away free mulch.

The sales ordinance passed after City Manager Scott Sellers and City Attorney Robert Schleier presented amendments to accommodate outdoor festivals and tent sales in store parking lots.

"We can set up lemonade stands, right?" Mayor Ronnie Spradlin asked, only half joking. Schleier said that instance falls under the exception allowing sales on one's own property. That exemption allows stores such as Wal-Mart to hold tent sales in their parking lots and downtown businesses that set up sidewalk sales.

"We might call that the downtown merchants' exemption," Schleier said.

The new ordinance bans all residential sales unless the solicitor is invited, represents a charity or alarm company. The charitable exemption means students can still sell chocolate bars, fruit baskets and other items door-to-door as fundraisers.

The ban includes fliers left on doors.

Another exception, included at the request of a company that told the city door-to-door contact is mandatory to its business, allows unsolicited visitors to inform residents of a business opportunity without making a sales pitch.

"We said we'll write this in unless it becomes a problem," Sellers said.

The new ordinance also amends the old one to comply with Texas law regarding allowing temporary agricultural sales along state highway rights of way. It also removes a ban on temporary farmers market-like sales on public streets.

Sellers said the ordinance arose from a citywide survey in which 86 percent of residents favored the door-to-door sales ban.

"With eight out of 10 wanting to ban it, we went back and just kind of reworded out existing ordinance," Sellers said.

The council on Monday also set up a $50,000 budget to get the Meadowbrook Golf Course and its associated swimming pool, restaurant and other elements up and running. Sellers said $32,000 is needed to replace three air conditioning units and buy software and hardware to track sales and keep the books at the former private club.

The separate budget does not include the management fee for Eagle Golf, which is being paid $5,000 monthly. Sellers emphasized that the city will own anything it buys for the property.

Also Monday, Public Works Director Seth Sorensen proposed applying for a $25,000 grant to pay about two-thirds of the cost of a brush chipper for public use.

Sorensen proposed setting up a Green Waste Center on the 7½-acre former Shore Refinery site at 2404 Longview St. The site would not replace the curbside pickup now available, but would allow residents to bring limbs Thursdays and Fridays rather than waiting for trucks that rotate among the city's four quadrants.

A city employee would run the site part time. Residents also could have free wood chips for gardening, landscaping or other uses, Sorensen said.

He said halving the cost the city now pays to send such brush to the Pine Hill Landfill is one goal of the proposal.



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