|City, county propose new recycling, pawn ordinances
By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
The Mt. Sterling City Council and the Montgomery County Fiscal Court have approved first readings of ordinances that would strengthen oversight of recyclers, precious metals dealers and pawnbrokers.
Both bodies approved first reading of identical ordinances Oct. 18. They are expected to come up for second reading and final approval Nov. 15.
The ordinances are meant to tackle the growing number of thefts associated with obtaining money for drugs, according to law enforcement officials.
“We’re trying to stem the influx of thefts of several items, including precious metals and scrap materials, and at the same time stem the other supply of drug money going into the drug problem that we’re facing,” Mt. Sterling Police Chief David Charles said. “We’re not just after the supply side, but the demand side as well.”
Charles said theft in these areas are a major concern for law enforcement.
“It’s very prevalent,” Charles said. “Anytime you turn on the news, read the paper or any kind of media you’re constantly seeing articles about the latest egregious theft over copper.”
Montgomery County Sheriff Fred Shortridge said he’s glad to see the Fiscal Court and city taking action.
“It’s much needed, obviously,” Shortridge said. “Hopefully, that will deter and help us tremendously on doing an investigation as trying to find out who are doing these burglaries and these thefts.”
“It’s long overdue,” he added.
The ordinances were drafted by Mt. Sterling City Attorney Crystal Brashear, County Attorney Kevin Cockrell and Assistant County Attorney Nik Fegenbush, with input from law enforcement.
At least one recycler says he believes the ordinances will cripple the scrap metal business.
“I believe it’s going to have more pitfalls than it helps,” said Paul Simpson of Simpson Salvage in Jeffersonville. He explains his views later in this article.
The ordinances dealing with pawnbrokers would prohibit a pawnbroker from doing business between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.
It would also require a pawnbroker to keep a register of loans and purchases for possible inspection. The registers would include the dates of all loans or purchases and the names of all persons who have left any property on deposit as collateral security or as delivery or sale.
A description of the items, the time when the loans falls due, the amount of purchase money and the amount of the loan and interest charged are required as well. Serial numbers, model numbers or owner applied numbers or engravings must also be included.
Pawnbrokers would be prohibited from accepting any item with a missing serial number.
Each registry entry would have to contain a copy of a state issued photo ID or a photograph of the individual with the items they present and a thumbprint.
Under the proposed ordinance, a pawnbroker would provide the customer with a ticket and receipt for the article, which may be pawned after 60 days, provided that the customer be notified by mail not less than 10 days before selling the items.
Pawnbrokers would also be required to make a daily report to local law enforcement or the Kentucky State Police at 11 a.m. daily.
The ordinance would place a 20-day hold on the resell of items purchased.
Travis Walters, manager at Castle 9, a precious metals dealer in the Kroger Centre, said he believes the ordinances would have little effect on business there.
“Most of that stuff we do already anyway,” Walters said.
The biggest change, he said, would be the daily reporting requirement. The business currently files a monthly report.
Business hours might also have to be adjusted if the ordinances were to be approved, Walters said. Castle 9 is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, but is open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
As a victim of theft himself, Walters said he understands the concern.
“Anything that they can do to try and track those things and get their merchandise back, (I support)” he said. “That’s what it’s about anyway. I think it would be great if all the other places in town had to do the same thing.”
Metals recyclers would be required under separate ordinances to keep a register containing a copy of a valid driver’s license or other government-issued identification card, the state, the license number of the motor vehicle used to transport the item and the time and date of the transaction.
A description in the usage of the trade and the kind and weight of the material, including a serial number or VIN number, would have to be included, as well as the amount paid for the material and unit basis of the purchase, such as by ounce or pound.
Recyclers would be prohibited from purchasing any metal that has been smelted, burned or melted unless the seller provides a signed certificate of ownership or a signed certificate from the owner of the metal stating that he or she is the owner of the metal and that the person selling the metal is authorized to do so on behalf of the owner.
Recyclers would also be prohibited from purchasing any catalytic converter, metal beverage container that is capable of holding more than two liters of beverage that is marked as returnable, railroad rail or other nonferrous metal to a person less than 18 years of age or is unable or refuses to provide the information for the register.
Further, recyclers would not be permitted to purchase any automobile without proof from the seller of title held in their name and proof that the title has been junked by the seller.
No recycler would be permitted to accept “any metal that bares a municipality name, utility company and/or government waste water removal entity or property used for highway safety. This specifically includes, but is not limited to, manhole covers, storm grates and guard rails and their supports” without authorization from appropriate officials.
There are, however, some exceptions.
Those include firearms, knives, nonreturnable used be