Thursday night’s Tyrone Town Council meeting was almost over when Mayor Eric Dial asked a question that several minutes later resulted in roadside vendors in town getting a significant cost savings.
During the “council comments” portion of the meeting, Dial said he learned that a one-day permit to sell fruit and vegetables in the town’s parking lots costs $25. He was specifically referring to a man who sometimes sells produce from the back of his pickup truck in the parking lot next to the Dollar General store on Senoia Road.
“How’s that man going to make a profit doing that?” Dial asked rhetorically.
As the discussion continued among elected officials and staff, it was determined that there was unanimity in reducing the fee or even cancelling the permit requirement. Police Chief Brandon Perkins then asked the council to slow down a bit before doing away with the permit altogether.
Perkins explained that the Solicitor’s and Peddler’s License is required for anyone doing temporary business in town, whether they sell produce from their vehicle or go door-to-door offering roof repair quotes. Any activities like these, he said, need to come under the watchful eye of the town to help reduce scams and to keep track of what’s happening in town, and especially in the neighborhoods.
“That’s one of the primary reasons for the ordinance,” Perkins said, noting that fraud has taken place in the past at the front doors of Tyrone’s residents.
Perkins said the process of applying for a permit allows police to perform quick background checks on people wanting to do business at people’s doors. It just happens to be that the same permit is required as well if the business person wants to meet their customers in the town’s parking lots or other roadside venues.
Dial and the unanimous town council voted to keep the permit requirement but suspend the fee for “transient merchants” until they can come up with a more suitable fee structure.
Perkins said he was glad to see the council leave the permit in place, because he said it has already proven to be a useful tool in reducing fraud in town. He said he tells neighborhood groups to always demand to see someone’s solicitor’s license when a salesperson appears at their door. If they don’t, a quick call to 9-1-1 will get an investigation started into the matter, he said.
Unless it’s someone producing a police warrant, Perkins said, “There’s nothing in the law saying you have to open that door.”
Dial said he was glad they could provide some relief for local entrepreneurs without getting in the way of the police department’s job. He said the town will look into licensing processes used in other local municipalities before he and the Tyrone Town Council enact a permanent ordinance solution.
“We don’t want to take away the police department’s enforcement tool,” Dial said.