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New Secondhand Dealer Ordinance Could Be Repealed

After hearing from business owners at a public hearing Tuesday who said the recently passed ordinance is burdensome, commissioners agreed unanimously to direct staff to bring them a proposal next month to repeal the rule.

Pasco County Commissioners expressed they are open to the idea of repealing a controversial county ordinance requiring secondhand dealers to electronically log transactions they make as part of business.

After hearing from a legion of businesspeople and others in attendance at a public hearing Tuesday who said the ordinance is burdensome, commissioners agreed unanimously to direct staff to bring them a proposal to repeal the rule on April 24.

Under the county secondhand dealer ordinance, dealer logs are to be filed with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office within 24 . Photos of the goods and fingerprint customers also are required.

Swap shops, coin dealers, flea market vendors, antique shops and gold and precious metals dealers are among the businesses defined in the ordinance as secondhand dealers.

Under the ordinance, dealers also are required to hold secondhand goods that they receive for a 30-day period before they can resell them, which is double the length of time state law requires them to hold those goods.

The ordinance is a companion rule to an ordinance creating similar regulations on secondary metal recycling businesses such as scrap dealers. Both were passed Feb. 7.

On Tuesday, 30 frustrated, passionate dealers complained about the ordinance. The county commission first proposed a workshop to discuss altering the ordinance, such as providing relief for antiques dealers, but dealers said they wanted nothing short of full repeal.

"It will be impossible for small businesses to comply, either financially or time-wise," said Elizabeth Burke, an antique dealer in San Antonio. 

Coin dealers complained that the new reporting requirements required them to photograph each new good in a collection.

Art Pinto, of said that the ordinance does not take into account the fluctuating price of gold and coins and how much a customers’ offered goods are worth.

“I don’t want to have to pay them less for their transactions,” he said.

Joseph Rainier, of U.S. Gold and Silver in New Port Richey, said that the holding period was a problem.

“I would incur huge losses,” he said. 

Commissioner Jack Mariano said the commission should seek to repeal the secondhand dealers ordinance.

He pointed out that the secondhand dealers ordinance “has now obviously breached into a very strong economy“ that already has some regulation by state law. He got applause from the audience of 25 or so people who came out in opposition to the ordinance.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri said she is “not opposed to” repealing the ordinance, but she wanted to go with the idea of workshopping it, which commissioners were poised to schedule before Mariano made his motion. She didn’t want it done by “mob rule,” she said.

“You make this grand slam play, and you get all your claps, and nothing is discussed,” Mulieri said to Mariano.

“I don’t need the discussion,” Mariano said. “I’ve heard from the people."

Jeremiah Hawkes, attorney for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, said that the department was open to reversing the ordinance.

Sheriff Chris Nocco "has instructed me that he wants to work with the board,” Hawkes said.

Prior to the commission consenting to consider repeal, he said the sheriff was open to halting enforcement immediately until the ordinance was amended.

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