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Mayor: City will enforce vendors ordinance

After the city’s attorneys issued a new legal opinion on the matter, Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said Thursday the police department will now enforce an ordinance regulating vendors during special events.

This came on the day the Friends of Ironton kicked off the four-day Rally on the River motorcycle festival.

An earlier legal opinion from city solicitors Bob Anderson and Mack Anderson stated that the city could not enforce the ordinance because it did not include an a section about enforcement. However, a section of the city’s administrative code called General Penalty does provide a penalty section for ordinances that do not otherwise state one.

Blankenship said, after the section of the code was brought to his attention, he sent it on to the Andersons, who have agreed that the section would cover the “vendors ordinance.”

“The Ironton City Police has been instructed to enforce the code to the best of their ability,” Blankenship wrote in a letter to members of the Ironton City Council and others. “I have notified the (Friends of Ironton) to this effect as well.

“As mayor, I am required to enforce all laws made by the City and our intention is to do just that to the best of our ability. However, I would request that Ordinance 11-43 (vendors ordinance) be re-visited as soon as possible to eliminate these problems in the future.”

Council passed the ordinance late last month at the request of the civic organization the Friends of Ironton. The group argued that vendors set up during their events without paying them a vendor’s fee. Representatives said they wanted protection from those vendors.

The new legal opinion states: “It is our opinion that while 11-43 (the “vendors ordinance”) does not specifically provide for a penalty to be imposed for a violation thereof, Section 202.99 is applicable to 11-43 and therefore, a person or entity who is found to have violated 11-43 is subject to a fine not exceeding $500, a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.”

Friends representative Dave Smith said Thursday he was pleased that the city will enforce it and that there are already several vendors who have set up for Rally on the River without paying the organization’s vendors fee.

“I think that’s great,” Smith said. “I think that is what they should have been doing all along.”

Ironton Police Chief Jim Carey said his department has been made aware of two vendors who were not paying the Friends a fee. Officers advised both of them, Carey said. Carey said the officers are giving vendors an opportunity to comply with the ordinance before they write citations.