By Ian Perrotta
Stores that buy and sell used merchandise in Hamtramck may soon have to purchase something new – a permit allowing them to operate.
The city council is considering an ordinance that requires businesses that purchase goods to be resold to register with the city and track their transactions online. The proposed law will be reviewed at next Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
According to Police Chief Max Garbarino, the new regulation is a way to simultaneously prevent stolen goods from being resold within the city while not burdening residential taxpayers with additional fees.
“It affects basically anyone buying stuff off the street,” he says. “The only exception is if the business is primarily clothing.”
For businesses that are affected by the ordinance, the difference will be noticeable. In addition to paying a $500 fee to operate, second-hand and resale stores must now also track their merchandise through a program called LeadsOnline. Each transaction will cost $1.
“The fee goes toward covering operating expenses,” says Chief Garbarino. “It’s not going to balance the budget, but it helps.”
A different, existing ordinance also requires businesses that sell used precious metals and gems to also pay a $500 yearly fee and keep track of purchases.
Around town, the reaction to the proposed law has yet to fully be measured. Catrina Stackpoole of Recycled Treasures was initially worried about the cost, but after discussing the situation with officials realized her store was exempt because she only takes donations and does not buy goods to be resold.
“In general, I’m happy that an effort is being made and something is being done,” she said.
The new ordinance isn’t the only business-related item on the agenda, however. Changes are also in the works to raise the yearly business license fee from $75 to $100. On the plus side, the increase will also cover the registration of business alarms, which used to cost $100 by itself.
“There’s always been an ordinance requiring repayment for alarm calls, but no one ever enforced it,” says Chief Garbarino “The old ordinance set a few years ago stated fees were to be regularly set by council, but they never did.”
Under the proposal businesses get a free response to their first two alarm calls. The third response will come with a fee of $100, the fourth will cost $200 and all subsequent calls thereafter will be $250.
“It had to be done. I picked fees that I thought were reasonable and presented them to the council,” says Chief Garbarino. “I kind of expected them to tinker with it, but they approved.”