Safety hazard? proposal would ban coin collections in Glens Falls | Local

MAURY THOMPSON

GLENS FALLS Glens Falls Common Council is considering banning charitable coin donations.

“We are one of the few places that allow them,” said city police chief Michelle Arnold.

The city council will hold a public hearing at 7.20 p.m. Tuesday on the proposed ban, which the city public security council recommended.

“Everyone wants to do it because it’s easy to do,” said Richard Saunders, a member of the Public Safety Council.

Saunders said city law specifically states that falling coins “must not interfere with normal circulation” and that “a tag or receipt must be given to the donor.”

It’s impossible to take the time to receive money and give a receipt without slowing traffic, he said.

“Obviously, anytime someone stood in the middle of the road it would be a safety hazard,” said Arnold, the police chief.

Glens Falls is the latest community in the area to raise questions about coin fall safety in recent years.

In September 2013, State Police issued three tickets for violating a state vehicle and traffic law to volunteers from the Fort Ann Fire Department conducting a parts drop.

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The tickets were rejected days later, department chairman Don Ballard said on Friday.

Ballard said he believed the department had a parts drop in 2014 that was interrupted by a fire call.

None are planned for this year at this point.

“It’s the best fundraiser,” he said.

State law prohibits falling coins in cities, but the law has an exception for villages and towns.

The village of Greenwich stopped allowing falling parts about two years ago, with the exception of an annual firefighters collection, Mayor David Doonan said.

The village of Whitehall, where coin drops commonly occur, does not specifically prohibit or permit falling coins, Mayor Kenneth Bartholomew said.

“The village of Whitehall does not regulate falling coins. We have nothing to do with them, ”he said.

Groups sometimes inform the village of their intention to keep drops of coins.

“We send them a letter: ‘The village of Whitehall does not regulate the falling coins’,” he said.

In Glens Falls, City Clerk Robert Curtis searched for city codes and couldn’t find any other city in the state with a coins deposit law, said Mike Mender, deputy mayor.

Five groups received permits to keep coins in Glens Falls in 2014: Glens Falls Greenjackets, Glens Falls Medical Mission, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Toys for Tots, and Glens Falls Kiwanis Club / CROP Walk.

Hank Pelton, president of the Greenjackets football team, said about $ 900 was raised through the coin donation to purchase team jerseys.

Others were amassed in previous years when the team dropped coins in multiple locations across the city on the same day, he said.

Pelton said city officials were overreacting and should increase safety restrictions for falling parts instead of banning them.

“It’s just a way for organizations to raise funds. I mean, they’ve been doing them since we were kids, ”he said.

Pelton said if coin drops were banned, the team would have to seek more funding from routine community donors.

Arnold, the city’s police chief, said the groups were already disobeying regulations.

She said the Public Security Council is restricting groups to some intersections considered less dangerous than others, and that groups will disperse to other unauthorized intersections.

“This is something that has been discussed over and over again,” she said.

Saunders said the Public Safety Council, an advisory committee of the Joint Council, has been discussing the safety of falling coins for several years.

At the March board meeting, members delayed action on two coin collection requests and asked the Joint Council to decide whether to ban coin drops or rewrite the law to remove the ban on obstructing traffic, he said.

Follow editor Maury Thompson on the All Politics is Local blog, on PS_Politics on Twitter, and on Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.


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