The city has ordered a crackdown on illegal yard sales, a practice city officials say has become common during tough economic times.
Mayor Thomas H. Engle has asked code enforcement officials to conduct an investigation to determine how many yard sales are operating without permits. The city will then toughen its ordinance on yard sales and may increase the fine, Engle said.
"We're not concerned with the person having a yard sale," he said. "It's those that do it every week as a business that concern us."
Currently, city ordinance allows two yard sales each year per parcel of land. Sales may operate only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and may include only used items. No live animals, food, weapons or alcohol may be sold. Residents are required to pay $10 for a sales permit.
Of 31 yard sales conducted in the city on a recent weekend, more than half were found to be operating illegally, said Linda Dovalis, assistant director of building and planning. Violators are fined $20.
"People have been laid off and don't have the source of income they're accustomed to, so they decide to try to make money another way," Dovalis said.