Licensing of Secondhand Goods and Dealers

ORDINANCE 2012-21

An Ordinance Establishing Rules and Regulations Regarding the Licensure of Secondhand Goods and Dealers within the City of Hazleton and Imposing Penalties for Violations

WHEREAS, the City of Hazleton wishes to establish rules and regulations applicable to those operating secondhand goods businesses as defined by this Ordinance within the City of Hazleton.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED AND ENACTED by the Council of the City of Hazleton as follows:

SECTION 1.  License Required.

No person shall use, exercise or carry on the business, trade or occupation of buying scrap gold, old gold, silver, jewelry, home electronics/audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, telephones and telephonic equipment, scales, computers, computer hardware and software, typewriters, word processors, scanners, sporting goods of all kinds, antiques, platinum, all other precious metals, tools of all kinds, televisions, VCRs, DVRs, camcorders, car stereos, firearms, or other valuable articles, hereinafter referred to as "secondhand goods or articles," or being a secondhand dealer within the City of Hazleton without having first obtained a license from the City of Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office as hereinafter provided. A secondhand dealer is defined as a person, association, corporation or partnership, or other entity, who, wholly or in part, engages in or operates the trade or business of buying or acquiring any article mentioned above, or other valuable articles, except from a regularly established wholesale dealer. For purposes of this Ordinance, all employees of said facility shall also be considered secondhand dealers. 

SECTION 2.  Application Fee.

The City of Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office shall, from time to time, give and grant licenses to all proper persons, except persons convicted of receiving stolen property or goods, theft, any crime of deception, burglary or conspiracy to commit any of the aforementioned crimes, who may apply for the same to use, exercise and carry on the trade, business or occupation of buying secondhand goods or articles, or being a secondhand dealer, which said license shall state where said business is to be carried on, and shall continue in force for one (1) year (unless sooner because of suspension or revocation) and no longer; and each person applying for such license, if his/her application be approved in writing by the City of Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office shall pay to said official for the use of the city the sum of fifty ($50.00) dollars, and receive from the said official a license to carry out the said business. The license so granted shall only be valid for one (1) place of business. Once licensed, it shall be the applicant's responsibility to renew the license each year prior to the expiration of the current license. The re-application process to include all fees shall be the same as the original process defined herein.

SECTION 3.  Criminal History Records Check.

A. All secondhand dealer applicants, to include all employees of any applicant, shall be required to submit to a Criminal History Records Check conducted by the Hazleton Police Department. No applicant or employee shall be granted a license or allowed to work in any facility covered by this Ordinance without successfully passing a Criminal History Records Check. After licensed, should a secondhand dealer hire a new employee, prior to the employee being allowed to work in the licensed facility, the employee applicant shall have to submit to and successfully pass a Criminal History Records Check.

B. The Criminal History Records Check of an applicant must be conducted prior to application and any fee(s) for the Criminal History Records Check shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant. Applicants shall report to the Hazleton Police Department Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and request the Criminal History Records Check at the Police Department Records Clerk's Office. Once completed, the Records Clerk will notify the applicant by phone that they may contact the Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office to complete the application. The Criminal History Records Check shall be provided to the Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office and shall be a permanent part of the application to remain with the Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office.

C. Any conviction of any of the crimes listed in Section 2 of this Ordinance shall be an immediate disqualification and disallow the applicant from ever obtaining a license, as well as disqualifying any employee from ever being allowed to work at any secondhand goods establishment within the City of Hazleton .

SECTION 4.   Use of Public Grounds.

No person shall use the streets, lanes, courts, alleys, highways, buildings, houses, parks, playgrounds or grounds of the City for the purpose of purchasing or trading in secondhand goods or articles, or act as a secondhand dealer thereat, until a license for that purpose has first been issued/granted by the City of Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office.

SECTION 5.  Rules and Regulations.

All licensees shall conduct their business in conformity with the following procedures:

A. Each and every person licensed shall carry said license on their person/business for inspection by any law enforcement officer or other City inspector. The licensee shall also keep a log in which shall be legibly written in the English language the name of the person, his/her address, date of birth, a valid driver's license, valid state identification card, valid passport, or a valid military identification. The licensee shall have a description of each and every article purchased (which will include any serial numbers and/or service tag numbers), the date and time purchased, the amount of money paid therefore, and the signature of the seller. The log shall be available for review by any law enforcement officer and/or City inspector. 

B. At the time of the transaction, all licensees shall fill out the forms furnished by the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office, and such forms will be entered into the Luzerne County Precious Metals Database (http://nepapmdb.com) within forty-eight (48) hours of the time of purchase. 

C. All goods purchased by licensees under this Ordinance must be retained in the possession of the licensee for fifteen (15) days from the date the goods are entered into the Secondhand Dealer/Pawn Shop's database.

D. No licensee shall purchase such secondhand goods, articles, or other articles of value from any person under eighteen (18) years of age, from any intoxicated person, any person known to be a thief or associate of thieves, receiver of stolen property, or any person whom the licensee has reason to suspect or believes to be such.

E. No licensee shall purchase any item they believe to be stolen, nor shall they purchase any item that has any serial number altered, removed, or partially removed.

F. The City of Hazleton Code Enforcement/Licenses and Permits Office and the Chief of Police are hereby authorized to make any other rules and regulations necessary, in their opinion, for the proper conduct of the person or business licensed, and must report such rules to the Mayor and City Council after review and approval by the City Solicitor. 
 
SECTION 6.  Violations and Penalties.

A. Any licensee failing, neglecting or refusing to comply with any of the above provisions of this Ordinance shall be fined a sum of three hundred ($300.00) dollars for the first offense, plus costs, and shall have his/her license suspended for a period of ten (10) days. This suspension shall be mandatory. 
 
B. Every day that a violation continues shall be a separate violation. Each violation shall result in an additional ten (10) day suspension. 

C. Any licensee failing, neglecting or refusing to comply with any of the above provisions of this Ordinance shall be fined a sum of five hundred ($500.00) dollars for the second offense, plus costs, and shall have his/her license suspended for a period of fifteen (15) days. This suspension shall be mandatory. 

D. Any licensee failing, neglecting or refusing to comply with any of the above provisions of this Ordinance shall be fined a sum of one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars for the third and subsequent offenses in a three hundred and sixty-five (365) day period, plus costs, and shall have his/her license suspended for a period of thirty (30) days. This suspension shall be mandatory. 

E. Any person, firm or corporation, who or which shall violate this Ordinance shall be subject to the fines imposed herein. Failure to pay the assessed fine within ten (10) days shall subject the violator to arrest by the Hazleton City Police, or any other lawful law enforcement officer, shall be prosecuted in proceedings before the District Justice of the City of Hazleton, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be deemed guilty of an offense and shall be subject to the penalties set forth herein. 

SECTION 7.  Severability.

In the event any provision, section, sentence, clause or part of this Ordinance shall be held to be invalid, illegal or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity, illegality or unconstitutionality shall not affect or impair the remaining provisions, sections, sentences, clauses or parts of this Ordinance, it being the intent of City Council that the remainder of the Ordinance shall be and shall remain in full force and effect.

Any Ordinance or part of an Ordinance conflicting with the provisions of this Ordinance shall be and the same is hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.

This Ordinance shall be effective immediately upon passage and approved in the manner prescribed by law.

ORDAINED AND ENACTED by Council this 15th day of August, 2012.