City commissioners take a closer look at panhandling - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City commissioners take a closer look at panhandling

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

During Tuesday's Albany city commission meeting, members considered an ordinance that would ban panhandling.

Commissioner B. J. Fletcher stated she's dealt with this issue personally, and says its hurting area businesses.

Fletcher says many people, including senior citizens, don't return to businesses because they are scared by aggressive panhandlers, who are begging for food and money.

Mayor pro tem John Howard says many of these people are mental patients who have no where to go, and locking them up won't do any good.

City commissioners are considering issuing a warning on a first offense, then a fine or even jail time.

They also want to hold a forum to meet with owners to discuss and hear first hand what they are experiencing.

The owners of Our Daily Bread know first hand the problems that come with panhandlers.

"The problem is when they start hitting our customers and they are going from table to table before we can catch them," says owner Jason Warren.

Albany city commissioner and restaurant owner B.J. Fletcher has had her run ins with panhandlers.

Fletcher is pushing for tougher laws that include jail time.

"They are approaching our small businesses, our seniors, our tax payers out here trying to make a living, and its not right. They talk about their rights, but its time to talk about the tax payers rights," says BJ Fletcher.

Fletcher says it has gotten so bad, they're actually driving away business.

"I have had them to personally call me at my restaurant and say BJ I've enjoyed the meal, but I had someone approach me in the parking lot, I gave them dollars dollars, but I'm not coming back because they scare me," she says.

"We have people that spend a lot of money to rent our building out, for a wedding, baby shower, or something like that and we have vagrants literally try to push through the door after we tell them to stay out," says Warren.

But some city officials think jail time is too extreme.

"I think we need to go back and look at some of the hardcore problems we have and I'm a firm believer that incarcerating a person for panhandling is not the solution," says Mayor Pro Tem Jon Howard.

The comission tabled the item until they can hold a public forum with business owners and get more information.

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • The Latest: Irma weakens into a tropical depression

    The Latest: Irma weakens into a tropical depression

    Monday, September 11 2017 3:27 AM EDT2017-09-11 07:27:29 GMT
    Tuesday, September 12 2017 2:42 AM EDT2017-09-12 06:42:09 GMT
    Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.More >>
    Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.More >>
  • Input needed to revitalize Tifton's Matt Wilson area

    Input needed to revitalize Tifton's Matt Wilson area

    Thursday, September 21 2017 10:15 AM EDT2017-09-21 14:15:16 GMT
    Community leaders want to make some improvements to this area known as New Front (Source: WALB)Community leaders want to make some improvements to this area known as New Front (Source: WALB)

    After a successful revitalization of downtown Tifton, community leaders say they're ready to take on a new project. They're now going to focus on the Phillipsburg and Unionville neighborhood near Matt Wilson Elementary School.

    More >>

    After a successful revitalization of downtown Tifton, community leaders say they're ready to take on a new project. They're now going to focus on the Phillipsburg and Unionville neighborhood near Matt Wilson Elementary School.

    More >>
  • Farmer Fredo to host 'grow your own groceries' class

    Farmer Fredo to host 'grow your own groceries' class

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:33 AM EDT2017-09-21 12:33:30 GMT
    Participants will learn how to grow their own groceries (Source: WALB)Participants will learn how to grow their own groceries (Source: WALB)

    As the new urban planning director for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation, Fredando "Farmer Fredo" Jackson has made it his mission to make South Georgians better gardeners.

    More >>

    As the new urban planning director for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation, Fredando "Farmer Fredo" Jackson has made it his mission to make South Georgians better gardeners.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly