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Cary looks to increase solicitors permit fee

CARY – Cary soon might join the list of municipalities that require solicitors to pay a fee to knock on residents’ doors.

The Village Board is considering charging solicitors $25 for a 30-day permit, and not allowing them to knock on doors past 7 p.m. The village currently doesn’t charge solicitors for a permit, and it allows them to work until 8 p.m. The revenue made from permits will go into the city’s general fund.

Many municipalities in McHenry County require solicitors – someone who goes door-to-door asking for money for something in exchange – to apply for a permit and pay a fee. McHenry County-area fees range from $500 in Island Lake for a three-day permit to $25 a day in Algonquin, according to a Cary report.

Those who don’t want visits from solicitors can place a sign or sticker, which are offered for free at the Cary Police Department, on their front entrance, Cary Police Chief Pat Finlon said.

“There are some good solicitors, and there are more forceful solicitors. … The resident controls everything in this by putting the sign up,” Finlon said. “If someone violates this, call us, because that is the only way we’ll know if it’s occurring.”

Potential solicitors fill out applications at the police department, which checks whether they have had any felony convictions. Cary police receive about 100 applications and from 10 to 15 complaint calls a year regarding solicitors. Some calls are because solicitors do not have a permit, Finlon said.

Trustee Ellen McAlpine said she is glad the Village Board is talking about concerns of soliciting, but the village also needs to consider the free market.

“While I may not want to buy a magazine subscription, they aren’t going to continue to visit unless there is a want for it somewhere,” McAlpine said at the Aug. 15 meeting when the item was discussed. “If they came to our town and nobody was buying their services, they wouldn’t be there. There could be residents who are utilizing services like that, so I don’t want to hamper someone’s ability if they enjoy someone coming in and doing that. I personally
don’t.”

The ordinance will be discussed Sept. 5, and the Village Board will vote on it at its Sept. 19 meeting.

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