Tangipahoa considers targeting peddlers

The Tangipahoa Parish Council introduced and set for public hearing an ordinance that, if passed at its next meeting on March 25, would regulate itinerant merchants, vendors, peddlers and others seeking to sell various items to parish residents.

The measure would require that those wishing to engage in “itinerant” retail practices first obtain a license from the Parish Permit Office and then pay sales taxes on items sold. The proposed ordinance specifically states that “peddlers of seafood” must obtain a license.

However, farmers can sell produce from their farms without having to obtain a permit or pay sales taxes on their sales.

The measure also contains penalties for violating its requirements.

Further, the measure would prohibit itinerant salespeople from going onto the property of private residences or businesses in the rural and unincorporated areas of the parish without first obtaining a lawful permit and having “been requested or invited to enter the property” by the owner or occupant of the private residence to make a sales pitch.

Councilman Nicky Muscarello said he had been asked by a representative of the Sheriff’s Office to introduce the measure.

Muscarello said sheriff’s deputies need such an ordinance to make arrests when citizens are harassed or in some cases defrauded by itinerant purveyors of goods and services.

Councilman Carlo Bruno illustrated the point by observing that several months ago elderly residents in his district were the target of bogus encyclopedia salesmen who had no intention of delivering the books even though they were paid to do so.

Other items discussed Monday included:

BUILDING BIDS ACCEPTED: Frank A. Anzalone General Contractors of Independence was awarded the contract to build the new Environmental Services Building on land near the Public Health Building on Club Deluxe Road just south of Hammond. When completed the facility will house the permits, planning and environmental health inspector offices.

ROADS TO BE IMPROVED: The council unanimously adopted a resolution that accepts state Department of Transportation and Development improvements to Lee’s Landing Road and a portion of La. 1064 known as River Road in exchange for the parish’s assuming ownership of the roads once they are completely rebuilt.

If any funds remain after these two projects are complete, the state will then widen to three lanes U.S. 190 east of Hammond from Pleasant Ridge road to Pride Drive at the Northshore Regional Airport.