By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A former city resident has started an online petition against the proposed Ordinance 1136 that will undergo its second reading and possible approval, tabling or failing at Thursday’s regular meeting at City Hall in Tucumcari.
Ordinance 1136, which when approved, will add chapter 5.30 to the Tucumcari City Municipal Code governing rummage, garage and yard sales.
This proposed change to the municipal code will require residents to obtain a permit at no cost from the city in order to hold a garage, rummage or yard sale, said City Manager Jared Langenegger.
Langenegger said with the passing of the ordinance, there would also be a limit of four garage sales for a resident per year. He said the times for the garage, rummage and yard sales must be held between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and cannot be held for more than three consecutive days.
“This is too broad of an ordinance to impose on the entire community of Tucumcari,” said Dena Mericle, former city resident.
Mericle, who now lives in the unincorporated region of Quay County, said the ordinance is unfair to the community and needs to be reworded to target the people running the supposed second hand stores out of their home.
“Jared is a lovely man and I appreciate all that he and the commissioners have done for the city,” Mericle said. “Although, this ordinance is unfair.”
Mericle said she intends to attend Thursday’s meeting and encourages people from both sides of the argument to attend and express their concerns and thoughts. She said the online petition started for her by her son, Christian Mericle, has received more than 100 comments of disapproval of the proposed ordinance. These comments include concerns about the city targeting such a petty item as garage sales when there are larger problems, such as streets and drugs to deal with, Mericle added.
Langenegger said he has seen the petition and read the comments related to the ordinance. He said a lot of the comments are due to misconception of the ordinance.
Langenegger said this ordinance ensures that people do not have continual garage sales every weekend. He said city continues to have a problem with people operating a business and calling it a garage sale. People are opening every weekend selling second-hand goods, Langenegger added.
Langenegger said these sales are occurring in a residential area where residents have raised concerns about the traffic hazardous and congestion it causes in those areas.
Mericle said if this is the case, then the ordinance needs to be rewritten to target those specific people that may operate a continuous sale as a primary source of income and a way to avoid taxes or sales taxes. She said many Tucumcari residents are not holding a garage sale as a primary source of income.
Langenegger said the city is not saying that yard, garage or rummage sales cannot be held; the city simply is seeking to limit residents to four garage sales a year that require a free permit.
He said the permit doesn’t cost the resident and only serves to track the number of yard sales.
Mericle said the a problem with the limiting of garage sales in Tucumcari is that there are a great deal of low income families in our area. She said by limiting these sales it could impact those individuals trying to make ends meet to buy food, pay bills or even pay for prescriptions by holding a garage sale. This will also impact low income shoppers looking for deals on, furniture, clothing and shoes, Mericle added.
Mericle said another issue that could occur is if a resident has already held four garage sales, and then a loved one dies. She said some families cannot afford to have an auction or pay for storage.
“Will the resident be penalized for holding a impromptu sale?” Mericle asked.
Mericle said one major issue that could arise from this ordinance is the accumulation of material by residents if they exceed their garage sale limit.
Langenegger said Thursday’s reading is only the second reading of the proposed change and it is not currently in place. He said it could be approved, tabled or even defeated. However, as with any ordinance the city would be lenient at first and there would an educational period for the community, Langenegger added.
Langenegger said with time and knowledge there would be the issuing of a citation for a violation that would result in a court appearance and possible fine.
Additional requirements are:
• Signs for the garage, yard and rummage sales must be temporary in nature and no larger than 24 by 24 inches.
• Signs may be posted no more than two days prior to the sales and must be removed 24 hours after the sale.
• No more than four signs can be posted throughout the city for any person holding a garage, yard or rummage sale.
Provisions of this new chapter will not affect:
• Persons who are acting in accordance, within their powers, in a court of competent jurisdiction.
• Persons who are acting in accordance with their powers and duties as a public official.
• Duly licensed auctioneers who are selling at auction.
• Organized fundraising events sponsored by a registered non-profit organization.
• Sales expressly permitted by law.
Langenegger said violators would be cited and have to appear in court. He said Municipal Judge Joe Dominguez would determine what action to take.