Out-of-state vendors coming into Clay County to sell goods or to do work on properties may soon have to present a transit vendor license before offering their products to county residents or face a fine imposed by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.
Wednesday, during the Clay County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Sheriff Eddie Scott presented a proposal to the board for the county to adopt a transit vendor ordinance that would require out-of-state vendors to register at the Clay County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office. Scott said this would give the Sheriff’s Department a starting point to help citizens who have been cheated out of a large sum of money through unlicensed vendors because the Sheriff’s Department would have authority to stop the vendors and check their registration.
“We see them all the time.The problem we’ve been having is when you have contractors come in from out of state a lot of times we have run into some scams on senior citizens,” Scott said. “This has been going on for several years. I’ve worked several cases on this, and sometimes it ends up being civil cases. The problem that we get into is these companies come in here and the homeowner doesn’t get any kind of identification on them. Once they collect the money they’re gone, and there’s not enough information to pursue a criminal or civil charge.”
Scott referred to a recent incident involving an asphalt company as a prime example of a scam that could possibly be avoided if vendors presented valid transit vendor licenses. The asphalt company allegedly claimed to have had enough asphalt left over from their last job to pave a resident’s driveway for a “low price”. A victim in this case believed he would be paying about $6,000 for the job but ended up paying nearly three times as much only to have trouble with the asphalt breaking apart after investing so much money into the project.
“These folks are gone, we don’t know who they are and have no way of tracking them,” he said. “We’re trying to come up with a a way to protect our citizens.”
If adopted, the ordinance would not apply to local contractors, most of whom already hold privilege licenses, and won’t effect any companies doing work for schools in the county.
Scott is currently working with Board Attorney Bob Marshall to develop a draft ordinance that will be presented to the board during their next meeting for supervisors to review and consider adopting.