Monongalia County introduces panhandling ordinance
Community concerns over panhandling around Monongalia County have grown in recent months.
MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Community concerns over panhandling around Monongalia County have grown in recent months. Locals, officials, and even business owners have said they’ve seen an increase in panhandling all around the county, not just downtown Morgantown. Mon County Commission President, Tom Bloom, has been working for months to introduce a new uniform panhandling law for both city and county governments to follow.
“We have an image that we’re a very giving state,” Bloom said. “We have the resources, the food, and the services, but we also have this image where you can go out in the road and people are going to give them money, I want to do away with that image.”
County Commissions are authorized to pass ordinances and take other actions to eliminate what they would consider a public nuisance. Bloom says that the ordinance’s main focus is on limiting panhandling along roadways.
“We are focusing on ones [panhandlers] that are in the highways and in the streets,” Bloom said. “We have these people that at 8:30-9 o’clock at night, in the dark while wearing dark outfits, You can not see them.”
Although the ordinance is in its early stages, disciplinary actions are being discussed. Punishments could include citations, fines, and possibly jail time. Bloom added that he is also considering allowing more overtime funding for police to be able to enforce the ordinance if it does get approved.
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