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County Council OKs criminal solicitor penalties

10/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Solicitors, peddlers and canvassers who don’t comply with the county’s ordinances regarding those activities will now face criminal charges.

The change was made during the Sept. 30 Summit County Council meeting, as members adopted the ordinance proposed by township officials.

During the last Rules Committee meeting, Council members questioned Bath Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli about the proposed change, which he recommended after finding that the county’s penalties only carried a civil charge.

The county established guidelines a few years ago to regulate solicitors and peddlers. Sinopoli said townships such as Bath rely on the ordinance but have felt that the civil penalty is not harsh enough.

Council members also wanted more information as to whether representatives of other townships felt the same way as Bath’s.

This week, Sinopoli said he’d researched the issue further.

“All nine township are in full support of this,” he said.

Information from county officials shows that five townships, including Bath, Boston and Richfield, rely on the county’s ordinance to guide their policy on peddlers. Four, including Copley, created their own ordinance. Copley’s ordinance includes criminal penalties.

Sinopoli said having the new regulations in place also will benefit legitimate businesses, as they will be faced with consistent regulations throughout the county.

The new ordinance makes violators subject to a minor misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $100, according to the legislation.

Also during the meeting, Council adopted on first reading resolutions of support for three issues on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.

Council voted to recommend Akron voters support Issue No. 4, which, if approved, would allow the city to transfer ownership of the city’s steam plant to Akron Children’s Hospital [for more on that, see related story on Page 1].

Council also passed resolutions of support for Issue No. 1 for the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board and Issue No. 3 for the Akron Zoo. Both are renewal property tax levies.

In addition, Council:

  • adopted a resolution for the issuance of Health Care Facilities Refunding and Improvement Revenue Bonds through Franklin County for Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services (OPRS). With the $300 million in bonds, plans call for using about $29 million for improvements at OPRS’ Rockynol in West Akron; and
  • adopted a resolution allowing a renewal of a five-year lease with the Akron Area Arts Alliance (AAAA) for its space at the Akron Center Building. AAAA will pay $1 a year for the lease and 20 percent of the cost of utilities.

County Council will next meet Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m. for committee meetings in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, located at 175 S. Main St.

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