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Panhandling ordinance moves along

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

The Frankfort City Council took the second step in passing Ordinance 18-01 that would provide Frankfort Police officers with ticketing powers to prevent aggressive panhandling in the city. 

Chief Troy Bacon requested the ordinance since current state law classifies panhandling as a misdemeanor and only allows officers to act if they personally witness a panhandler intimidating someone to the point that the individual files a complaint.

At the Monday night meeting, council member Joe Palmer made a motion to amend the proposed ordinance to specify that the $50 fine that can be assessed would be for each occurrence.

Bacon told the council that the day following the last council meeting, after they had passed the ordinance on first reading, more complaints came into FPD about panhandlers bothering people downtown.

“This ordinance will help our officers handle that,” he said.

Council member Clarence Warthan asked what would happen to an individual if they kept accumulating fines, especially because they could presumed to be indigent.

Bacon noted that the fines would accumulate in City Court and liens could be placed on the individual’s property. Appeals could be filed by the accused but those would be heard in one of the county courts, not by the city court judge, Bacon explained.

The second reading of the ordinance, as amended, passed 6-1 with council member Lewis Wheeler voting nay as he did on first reading.