Dallas Council scraps plan for garage sale fee

DALLAS -- An ordinance creating a fee for a garage sale permit in the city of Dallas appears to be dead -- at least for now.



DALLAS -- An ordinance creating a fee for a garage sale permit in the city of Dallas appears to be dead -- at least for now.

Monday, the Dallas City Council was slated to vote on an ordinance and a resolution that would have created an $8 permit fee. But Councilor Jim Brown made a motion to table the ordinance.

Brown's motion was approved on a 6-to-3 vote, with councilors Kelly Gabliks, Murray Stewart and Ken Woods voting against it.

There was no discussion on the decision during the meeting, but Brown said after the meeting that the garage sale fee -- and all other user fees -- were part of a broader issue the city should address.

He said when a city offers a service with no money to support it, it has three choices: withdraw the service, modify it so it doesn't cost so much, or charge a user fee for the service.

Instead of dealing with each potential fee individually, Brown said he would rather propose that the city examine the issue, and perhaps establish a policy of when user fees should be used.

"It was clear from the reaction from the public that they didn't want to pay a garage sale fee," he said.

On April 1, the council approved having city staff draft an ordinance creating a permit fee and a resolution setting the fee at $8 to help cover staff costs. City staff dedicates time to issuing permits and maintaining city-issued signs used to advertise sales. Sign users pay a $15 deposit on the sign, refundable upon its return in usable condition. Homemade garage sale signs are prohibited in Dallas. The ordinance had also passed its first reading on April 15.

In other business, the council:

* Approved a resolution establishing new fines for businesses or homes that have repeated false alarms for police, fire or ambulance services.

City officials said with more homeowners and businesses installing alarm systems, false alarms are becoming a costly problem.

The resolution would charge on an escalating scale after the third false alarm at any home or business in a 12-month period. The false alarms, as defined by city code, are the result of owner failure to fix a problem with an alarm system, not by accidental activation or a situation thought to be an emergency, but was not.

False alarms at homes will cost $50 for the third, $100 for the fourth and $150 the fifth and subsequent false alarms in a 12-month period. Commercial rates are set at $250 for three, $500 for four, and $1,000 for five or more.

The resolution passed unanimously.



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