Rotterdam OKs Secondhand Law

No changes made to law despite concerns raised by storeowners

— Despite some Rotterdam storeowners urging town officials to make changes to a new law governing their businesses, the town’s secondhand dealers law was approved as is.

The Rotterdam Town Board on Wednesday, April 25, unanimously approved a local law regulating the acceptance and sale of secondhand items, with a focus on gold and other precious metals. Two local jewelry store owners during the public hearing on Wednesday, April 11, had expressed concerns about the 10-day waiting period to hold purchased items and the detail required of daily reports sent to police, but no changes were made to the law.

The Rotterdam Police Department has pushed for swift approval of the law due to an uptick in theft and burglaries, with officials saying it could help police make arrests and recover property.

Councilman Robert Godlewski restated concerns about the language of the law being too broad and including businesses not intended for inclusion.

Outside of what affects jewelers, the law also includes any person dealing with the purchase or sale of secondhand radios, televisions, household appliances, automobile parts or accessories, office furniture and business machines.

The part of the law Godlewski targeted was language including “secondhand articles of whatsoever nature.”

“We did talk the other night (in regards to) model trains not being covered under this, so are we going to soften those words … on who is covered?” Godlewski asked. “Really, you can interpret that to mean almost anything and I think that was one of the concerns that came out the other night.”

Deputy Police Chief William Manikas, responding to Godlewski, said the department doesn’t intend to enforce the law regarding model trains. Manikas said the law is designed for jewelry, precious metals and electronics.

“We have no concerns with the law as it is written,” Manikas said.

Buffardi after the April 11 public hearing previously said the main aspect of the law under discussion for a possible revision was the 10-day rule, but he didn’t foresee the detailed accounting required being changed.

Secondhand dealers would also be required to purchase an annual license from the town and there are fees associated with not complying with the law, including the suspension of a license. Town officials previously estimated the law would affect 12 businesses.

The local law took effect immediately after the board’s approval on April 25.

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