GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commissioners pondered the nature of emergency resolutions and the necessity of giving the public a chance to discuss proposed ordinances.
The issue came about after an ordinance was put forward for vote that would effect second-hand and pawnshop stores selling policies within city limits.
The new ordinance would ask second-hand stores to register items bought from private individuals before selling them in an attempt to curb would-be criminals from selling stolen property.
The ordinance ultimately did not pass as an emergency resolution Tuesday due to two no votes and three yes votes. Considering the ordinance did not pass unanimously, the law’s reading was considered its first and will have a second reading at the next city commission meeting.
If the law passes, pawnbrokers and second-hand stores will have to maintain a register of sales and descriptions of property being taken in. They will also have to maintain descriptions of people selling said items. The person selling the item also has to write a statement of ownership when they sell the item. The register must be uploaded electronically to the Gallipolis police chief on a system he designates that all pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers would have to take part in with an upload every seven days. Store owners could also not sell acquired property until after it had been uploaded to the registry for police knowledge.
The proposed ordinance aims at keeping police informed of individuals attempting to sell stolen property. The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office already makes use of similar electronic databases with stores who willingly participate in process.
“I’m 100 percent in favor of it,” said City Commissioner Roger Brandeberry, a former city police chief. “You’ve got everything of what I’ve read of it. My problem is I just don’t feel right passing it as an emergency ordinance. It affects people and how they do business. If someone wants to come in and address us, I think they should have the opportunity to do that, unless there is some pressing reason. If we’re affecting someone’s business, I think that’s why the charter says we have a few readings so that the public can input some. I’m all in favor. I think it’s fine but if someone comes in here that maybe knows more about it than me and wants a change and it makes sense to me, I’d make a change.”
“It doesn’t fail if it’s an emergency (resolution), if someone votes no on it,” said Commissioner Steven Wallis. “As long as three people vote yes, it’ll come back for a second reading.”
“Unless there is some pressing reason it needs to pass tonight, I’d probably vote no just so we had a second reading,” said Brandeberry. “Are we trying to beat a deadline?”
Wallis mentioned the law was likely a “no brainer” and it seemed the commission was all for the passing of the ordinance. He promoted Brandeberry choosing to vote as he wished but felt the issue’s discussion unnecessary to add to the next meeting’s agenda when it could be finished that evening. He said he understood Brandeberry’s concerns.
“I have a concern about when everything is basically an emergency,” Brandeberry said. “People should be able to come in here and address us. That’s how we get it right, if we listen to people that know something about it.”
City Commission President Tony Gallagher agreed with Brandeberry “when he put it that way.”
“That’s the reason the government is so slow,” Wallis said.
Brandeberry said he would vote yes for the second reading, the only reason he voted no the first time was so that individuals wishing to address the proposed ordinance could speak with city officials. Brandeberry said he was not trying to cause problems. Commissioners echoed they understood Brandeberry’s point.
The vote was taken three in favor and two negative. Commissioners parted amicably to listen to the proposed law’s second reading in a future meeting.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, ext. 2103.