AZTEC — At Tuesday's meeting, city commissioners will consider a moratorium on fees for permits to post signs advertising garage sales.
Approval would suspend the $25 sign fee and $10 administrative fee residents currently must pay to apply for a permit to post signs throughout the city. If passed by resolution, the moratorium would suspend all charges for garage sale signs for 180 days while city staff revisit and possibly revise details in the city's code for temporary signs.
At a special work session last month, the Commission Meeting Room at City Hall was filled with residents who showed up to weigh in on the fees. A majority of those who attended felt the signs were excessive. Many were not even aware the city's sign code ordinance regulated signs for yard or garage sales.
Shirley and Warren McNall were among those who attended the special work session. The Aztec couple were both against any fees charged for garage sale signs.
"If the citizens don't like to pay $35 for a (garage sale) sign permit, you should listen to us," Warren McNall told the commission. "We need to revise our code. You guys serve the people, small businesses. You gotta please us. Let's make it friendly. Let's put a litmus test on our codes. There's things you can't enforce, so forget them."
Shirley McNall told commissioners many of her friends were not aware of the code requiring residents to apply for a permit and pay $35 to the city to post garage sale signs.
"Being a garage-sale-aholic, I can say that no one we know in this town knew that they had to pay the $35 to get a permit," Shirley McNall said. "This is mass confusion for all of us."
Newly elected commissioner Katee McClure, a yard sale frequenter herself, called for the special work meeting to address the issue. McClure researched how nearby municipalities regulate garage sale signs. She said she was not surprised by the pushback over the fees at the meeting.
"I think that the people in this city have really spoken on this. The people came out in droves and that let them get heard," McClure said. "The (proposed moratorium) is the right direction. The city listened. I think it's absolutely positive that all of us, we all listened. I mean, c'mon, give the people what they want."
A moratorium would give the city time to rewrite current sign code, which requires a permit that's good for a total of three yard or garage sale signs, all of which must be placed on private property and be removed within 30 days of the end of the sale.
"While there are different methods to approach this subject, spring is here and everyone concurs that charging $35 for a garage sale sign permit should be either reduced or eliminated," William Homka, the new community development director, wrote in a staff summary report on the city meeting agenda.
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.