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Yard sale community dwindles as new ordinance is put into effect

By: Zane Ross

The new McCreary County Business License ordinance has gone into effect as of July 1. The ordinance requires all regular businesses to pay an annual fee of $20 for the license. A temporary business, such as a yard sale, will have to pay an annual fee of $50 to obtain a license and to operate within the county. This is perhaps the reason for the desolate feel of the M3 station in Whitley City over the past weekend despite it being a popular spot for summer yard sellers.

On Saturday, July 1, only three vendors had set up in the M3 lot as opposed to the average seven or eight. Only one of the present vendors was aware of the ordinance going into effect, but the other two hadn’t heard of it.

One of the vendors, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I haven’t made a dime all morning since I’ve been here and they expect me to pay for permission to set up,” he laughs, “ I think there are too many people like me who won’t do it. The county gets enough of my money every year. They expect me to pay more and buy this. It’s ridiculous. Most people come out here to make money, but if they have days like today then they are losing money.”

Most vendors when interviewed previously had similar thoughts on the matter. The typical yard sale does not make a substantial amount of money and to most it doesn’t make sense to pay for the license if they are not guaranteed to make that money back in the long run.

“I’m not going to get a business license,” says a female vendor, who also wished to remain anonymous, “If it is someone who sets up all the time then I understand, but for me it doesn’t make sense. I haven’t set up a yard sale since about this time last summer.”

Anyone with the intention of setting up a yard sale will still be able to do so without purchasing a temporary business license, but only if they are selling on private property or have written permission from the business whose property they are selling on. If a yard sale occurs more than 3 times per month on private property then the seller will have to purchase a license or be subject to a charge of $5 per day as well as a $50 fine for not having the license displayed conspicuously.

“I’ve been doing this since ’88,” says vendor, Larry Foster, “I’ve never had a problem before. I’m on a fixed income and need the extra money. When I was working I got hurt and now I get this check once a month, but it doesn’t go anywhere. In my opinion I think the people up at the courthouse are doing this because they want the money for themselves. They’re robbing the county and it’s causing people to not like them very much.”

Foster says that he doesn’t know if the county will enforce the new ordinance due to the cost to do so. He says that it seems like a lot of trouble for them to make over $50.

As of yet it is not known as to whether or not the Sherriff’s Office and Occupational Tax Administrator will go out of their way to enforce the new ordinance. However, it is important to note that the ordinance is officially in effect and anyone who wishes to purchase a business license, temporary or otherwise, may do so at the Occupational Tax Office.

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