Mt. Juliet Addresses Safety Concerns Over 'Contributor' Vendors
MT. JULIET, Tenn. – City leaders in Mt. Juliet met with representatives and vendors of the Contributor Newspaper to talk about ways to keep people safe and operate with city ordinances.
Concerns were raised Friday by city manager Kenny Martin. He said there would be issues in the future if he didn’t open a line of communication with the newspaper.
Martin called a meeting with the Director of Vending, Tom Wills, to talk about the law.
They talked about how to resolve a number of issues, which would allow vendors to keep selling the paper on street corners.
A Mt. Juliet ordinance has allowed vendors to stand in the public right of way, as long as they don't enter the roadway and create a safety danger for themselves or anybody else.
There's another rule in Mt. Juliet that some vendors have ignored. The city requires a vending permit.
Gil Horn has been selling the newspaper on a street corner in Providence. He said he didn’t even know a permit was required. It's $50 every two weeks.
"I don't know if we have to get a $50 permit, or since we go through the training process I didn't think it was necessary," he said.
Horn said police have not enforced the permit requirement, but Martin said that would change.
"You must follow the rules,” said Horn.
Although not a law, Martin has also asked vendors to wear reflective vests.
"We can't make them do that. We want to keep them safe, and keep our citizens safe, and we want it to be something in the end that will be beneficial to everybody," he told NewsChannel 5.
Horn said he has not followed all the safety rules he was trained by the newspaper to follow. He said you don't think about rules when you're trying to survive.
"You're not supposed to be out in the middle of the street, of course," he said.
Horn said if it's necessary he'll cross lanes of traffic to sell a paper, even though he knows better.
“You know being out here trying to get the money together for your room and food, you don't think of that," he said.
Martin said he wants to work with the newspapers and the vendors to keep them safe, so that they can keep selling papers.
An open line of communication may be the answer to educate some of the vendors, and keep them from getting hurt.