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Springdale council decides to keep charging for garage sales

by Laurinda Joenks | March 16, 2021 at 7:06 a.m.
City of Springdale City Hall Administration building entrance. NWA Democrat-Gazette/FILE PHOTO

SPRINGDALE -- The City Council decided to keep the $10 fee the city requires for residents to hold garage sales.

The city's permit requirement and fee were suspended in March last year by Mayor Doug Sprouse when he closed the city offices as confirmed cases of covid-19 first appeared in Springdale. "I certainly didn't want to encourage garage sales," he said.

Council member Amelia Williams on March 1 asked for the city to drop the fee permanently. She said many people are still without jobs because of the pandemic shutdowns, and some rely on the income a garage sale can bring.

"They could use $10 in their pocket right now," she said. "Or maybe they have two garage sales right in a row. That $20 could be their water bill."

Williams, Randall Harriman and Kevin Flores voted to remove the fee. Council members Mark Fougerousse, Mike Lawson, Mike Overton, Brian Powell and Jeff Watson voted to keep the fee.

Mike Chamlee, director of Springdale's Building Department, which issues the permits, said Springdale issued 2,097 garage sale permits in 2019 and 69 in 2020 before city offices were closed. The city gained $20,970 from the sale of 2019 permits, he said.

Chamlee said the income from the fees offsets the money the city spends each week to clean up signs not removed by those hosting sales.

In the spring and fall, when many garage sales are planned, a staff member will spend the entire day Monday removing signs, putting a truckload into the dumpster, Chamlee said.

Springdale, Tontitown and Siloam Springs are the only major cities in the region that charge fees, Chamlee said. Bentonville and Fayetteville don't require permits. Tontitown charges $10 and Siloam Springs, $5, according to those cities' websites.

Council members also expressed concerns about unpermitted sales or people who hold more sales than the city allows. The city limits sales to no more than three days long and no more than two a year. Most of the region's other cities share similar limits.

Sprouse said Springdale's Neighborhood Services Department holds responsibility for ensuring compliance with those requirements.

City attorney Ernest Cate said the penalty for not following city rules could lead to a fine of up to $500.

But, Chamlee said, many of the signs picked up do not list a specific address -- rather just street names and arrows -- leaving officials no way of knowing at what house the sale took place and who to hold accountable.

Overton after the meeting said he voted to keep the fee in place because of the cleanup required by the city.

"It's a labor-intensive effort," Overton said. "There's a box with a rock on it on every street corner."

More News

Garage Sales

Each of the region’s cities has regulations regarding garage sales held by residents.

Bentonville

No permit required

No fee

Limit of three days per sale

Limit of two sales per year

Fayetteville

No permit

No fee

Limit three days

Limit four per year

Rogers

Permit required

No fee

Limit three days

Limit two per year

SPRINGDALE

Permit required

$10 fee

Limit three days

Limit two per year

Source: City websites

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