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Cary trustees weigh in on proposed solicitors fee

CARY – There might be fewer door-to-door knocks from solicitors in Cary.

Village trustees are looking to add a fee of $50 to $75 a month aimed at deterring solicitors.

However, at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, some trustees expressed concerns about the limitations the fee would place on youth groups, such as Girl and Boy Scouts. 

While discussing exempting youth groups from fees, Village Attorney Julie Tappendorf said the village does not have to require permits, but once it does, all solicitors have to be treated the same.

“You can’t say one type of solicitation is OK and one isn’t,” Tappendorf said at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Cary Police Chief Pat Finlon recommended youth groups instead set up tents and sell their products on private property, such as a grocery store, as long as they have permission from the owner.

Those who do not want visits from solicitors can place a sign or sticker, which are offered for free at the Cary Police Department, on their front door, Finlon said. 

Finlon said it would be good to update the permit process, which takes at face value when solicitors – people who go door to door asking for money in exchange for something – say that they’ve had no felonies.

Under the new proposal, permits will be distributed with a photo ID, expiration date and the name of the company the solicitor works for. Each solicitor will undergo a background check that will cost the department $27 a person, village documents show.

The printer will cost the department $890, Finlon said. 

Trustee Christine Betz said she would like to see a higher solicitors fee at $500, the price Island Lake charges. 

However, Tappendorf said the fee must relate to the costs of the program, or it’s considered a revenue generator and a tax. 

Village Administrator Jake Rife said he thinks $500 is too high, but he will work with Finlon to determine the time it takes for staff to process permits and the cost to create the IDs.

Rife and Finlon said they will present a revised ordinance at a future meeting.

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