Larimer County Commissioners Pass New Panhandling Restrictions Ordinance
Those panhandlers you see standing in the medians of busy streets in Fort Collins won’t be there much longer. According to the Coloradoan Larimer County commissioners unanimously adopted new panhandling restrictions earlier today.
Asking for money, work or business along roadways, in medians, in parking lots and at restaurant patios is forbidden under the ordinance, which takes effect in 30 days and is punishable by fines up to $1,000.
The rule does seem pretty harsh, but I can understand the city’s safety concerns, I drive by the intersection of Mulberry and Timberline a lot and there always seems to be between one and four people standing on medians begging for money during the daylight hours. And on more than one occasion I have seen some close calls between drivers not paying attention and the panhandlers in the streets.
Once the ordinance takes effect, repeat offenders will be ticketed with fines up to $1,000. My question here is; will giving someone who has no money a ticket for $1,000 fix anything?
Apparently the Salvation Army doesn't have to worry about their bell-ringers being outlawed much like what people were worried would happen in Colorado Springs. Our bell ringers should be able to continue doing what they do legally.
The new ordinance will not allow panhandlers to beg from curbs, medians or areas around roads or highways and,
Forbids accepting money or anything of value from occupants of vehicles, bans asking for money from children, senior citizens and people with disabilities. It also prohibits aggressive, obscene, threatening and persistent soliciting.
What do you think of the new panhandling ordinance?
There are some people that are just out of options and need a little helping hand, I truly feel bad for them and want to help. But then there are others that just take advantage of people's generosity. Check out this article form back in 2005 that claims numerous panhandlers in Denver said they made between $35,000 and $100,000 per year, tax free, by begging on the street.
Picture by meddygarnet, Flickr.