A good yard sale bargain might be one person's treasure, but Pasco City Council members agree that the signs some yard sale hosts leave behind on telephone poles and street corners are just plain trash.
Yard sale signs -- particularly those left up past their expiration date -- and yard sale permits were the hot topic of conversation among council members at a workshop Monday.
While council members agreed that the leftover signs are an eyesore in residential neighborhoods, there was no consensus among them whether the city should continue to charge a $5 yard sale and $1 rummage sale permit fee.
Councilmen Bob Hoffmann and Tom Larsen favored getting rid of the permit fee, with Hoffmann describing it as an example of burdensome government.
"If somebody wants to do a garage sale on Road 100, do they get in their car and go to city hall and wait in line to pay $5, and burn a half a gallon of gas?" Hoffmann said. "I think this is overregulation."
But Councilmen Al Yenney and Saul Martinez said the permitting system is the only way to track whether people are complying with the two yard sales per year limit in the city code.
"The money is not the issue for me," Martinez said. "It's the ability to track that people aren't having yard sales every weekend."
Yenney said he thinks the city should do a better job of enforcing that limit.
"Driving around, it doesn't seem like the number of yard sales is being enforced," Yenney said. "If we drop the permit, I don't see how the number could be enforced. There's a lot of them that's every other weekend. It's an area I'd like to see cleaned up."
Hoffmann said he doesn't think the city should limit the number of yard sales at all.
Yenney and Martinez favored keeping the permit fee at $5, noting most people who have yard sales make less than $100 from their cast-off goods.
Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Francik agreed with Hoffmann and Larsen that the city should drop the fee -- but also said if the city keeps the fee it should be raised to $10 to cover the cost of staff time to process the permit applications.
"If we're going to require permits, then we need to do enforcement. If we're not going to do enforcement, then I don't see the point of having permits," Francik said.
The city brings in about $6,500 to its general fund each year from yard and rummage sale permits, said Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel.
Councilman Mike Garrison favored keeping the $5 fee. Mayor Matt Watkins didn't explicitly say whether or not he'd keep the fee but said he is concerned about people having yard sales that don't fit the city's regulations.
"I'm going to hazard the folks who have problems or excessive amounts of yard sales are the folks not getting permits to begin with," Watkins said.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org