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Secondhand Dealer Ordinance Could be Repealed

After hearing from a legion of businesspeople and others in attendance at public hearing Tuesday who said the ordinance is burdensome, commissioners agreed unanimously to direct staff to bring them a proposal next month to repeal the rule.

Pasco County Commissioners expressed they are open to the idea of repealing a controversial county ordinance requiring that secondhand dealers electronically log transactions they make as part of business.

After hearing from a legion of businesspeople and others in attendance at a public hearing Tuesday who said the ordinance is burdensome, commissioners agreed unanimously to direct staff to bring them on April 24 a proposal to repeal the rule.

Under the county secondhand dealer ordinance, dealer logs are to be filed with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office within 24 . Photos of the goods and fingerprint customers are required accompaniment.

Swap shops, coin dealers, flea market vendors, antique shops and gold and precious metals dealers are among the businesses identified in the ordinance’s definition of secondhand dealers.

Under the ordinance, dealers also are required to hold secondhand goods that they receive for a 30-day period before they can resell them, which is double the length of time state law requires them to hold those goods.

The ordinance is a companion rule to an ordinance creating similar regulations on secondary metal recycling businesses, like scrap dealers. Both were passed Feb. 7.

On Tuesday, 30 frustrated, passionate dealers complained about the ordinance. The County Commission had first proposed a workshop to discuss altering the ordinance, such as providing relief for antiques dealers, but dealers said they wanted nothing short of full repeal.

"It will be impossible for small businesses to comply, either financially or time-wise," said Elizabeth Burke, an antique dealer in San Antonio. 

Coin dealers complained that the new reporting requirements required them to photograph each new good in a collection.

Art Pinto, of Legacy Coins in Lutz, said that the ordinance does not take into account the fluctuating price of gold and coins and how much a customers’ offered goods are worth.

“I don’t want to have to pay them less for their transactions,” he said.

Joseph Rainier, of U.S. Gold and Silver in New Port Richey, said that the holding period was a problem.

“I would incur huge losses,” he said. 

Commissioner Jack Mariano said the commission should seek to repeal the secondhand dealers ordinance.

He pointed out that the secondhand dealers ordinance “has now obviously breached into a very strong economy“ that already has some regulation by state law. He got applause from the audience of 25 or so people who came out in opposition to the ordinance.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri said she is “not opposed to” repealing the ordinance, but she wanted to go with the idea of workshopping it, which commissioners were poised to schedule before Mariano made his motion. She didn’t want it done by “mob rule,” she said.

“You make this grand slam play, and you get all your claps, and nothing is discussed,” Mulieri said to Mariano.

“I don’t need the discussion,” Mariano said. “I’ve heard from the people."

Jeremiah Hawkes, attorney for the sheriff’s office, said that the sheriff’s office was open to reversing the ordinance.

“The Sheriff (Chris Nocco) has instructed me that he wants to work with the board,” Hawkes said.

Prior to the commission consenting to consider repeal, he said the sheriff was open to halting enforcement immediately until the ordinance was amended.

Jeremy T. Simons, Esq. March 21, 2012 at 03:10 AM
This is a pretty big story for our city. I hope to read a follow up soon.
Constantine March 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM
I feel that the Commissioners seen the ordinance for what it was ....IT hurts businesses not help them. My hat off too all those who saw this ordinance for what it was and full respect for those commissioners who were bold enough to move for a motion to reppeal this ordinance after hearing from the Public. Elizabeth Burke of San Antonio really did her homework and her testimony was awwwwwwsome.
Goldberg March 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM
The Sheriff requested this ordinance in hopes of helping victims of crime to get their property back. Coins as we all know have no distinct markings and millions of them are made so that in itself makes it VERY difficult to determine if they were from a theft or not. Second, I strongly believe that the Sheriff should promote and alert the public to securing valuables in thier homes by buying a safe and having it secured to the floor of their garage so criminals cannot just break in someone's home and walk out with their valuables. Example: you have three gold coins stolen current value $4800.00 cost of a safe and securing to your garage floor $650.00. Not a bad investment Huh?? Besides did you ever see a criminal walking down the street with a safe.I am sure they will be stopped in a hurry. I understand we all should have the right to live in our homes or businesses without the invasion of criminals. But people it's the way of our society and we have to face it. So why just leave things out in the open or unsecured to make it easy for criminals. Make it hard for them and be smart get a safe or an alarm if you have valuables worth more than $1000 in your home. It protects your valuables and gives you peace of mind. I heard from the sheriff represenatives that millions of dollars in coins, jewelry etc. are stolen. CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS.... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.. :o) .. The community can do things to help prevent thefts of their property....
Marshal March 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I understand that U. S. Gold and Silver , Inc. suggested to the sheriff's department that they create a email notification system . The detectives investigating the thefts could quickly notify dealers by email with photos if they are available so the dealers can help our law enforcement by being on the look out for those items should someone come in to sell those items within a window of that notification. I mean let's face it something stolen last nite and all of a sudden those very same things show up at a dealer fairly quick. RED FLAG!!! Dealer alerts the detectives to the identity of that individual. Then you add crime prevention programs to educate the community and it will help stop it. As far as the crooked dealers there are ways to uncover who they are and shut them down by taking their city and occupational license and any other license they are required to have and/or prosecution for receiving stolen property. I am sure the good dealers have ZERO tolerence for crooked dealers.

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