Sikeston City Council passes pawnshop regulation ordinance

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SIKESTON, Mo. -- New regulations for pawnshops were approved by the Sikeston City Council during its regular monthly meeting Monday.

City manager Doug Friend said the ordinance regulating pawnshops was recommended by consultants during their review of city code.

The new city ordinance "mirrors the state statutes," Friend said.

A pawnbroker is defined in the ordinance as "any person engaged in the business of lending money on the security of pledged goods or engaged in the business of purchasing tangible personal property on condition that it may be redeemed or repurchased by the seller for a fixed price within a fixed period of time."

Among the significant changes included in the new ordinance are new restrictions on the location of pawnshops in relation to other pawnshops and churches and licensing requirements to open pawnshops.

Pawnshops are no longer allowed to be within 300 feet of a church or within 500 feet of another pawnshop, although a grandfather clause was included permitting the city's two existing pawnshops to remain at their current locations.

Licenses for pawnshops will only be issued to a "person of good moral character" which is defined as someone "who has not been convicted of any state, federal or municipal offense involving drugs or narcotics, robbery, burglary, theft, stealing, receiving stolen property, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, gambling, bribery, perjury, any weapons offense or any crime of violence." Pawnshop employees must also be persons of good moral character.

License applications for new pawnshops will require a $500 investigation fee or a $250 fee if the application involves an additional license for a previously licensed pawnbroker for a separate location; proof of a $50,000 general liability insurance policy; and an annual fee of $500.

License applicants are also now required to have net assets of at least $50,000 readily available to conduct business for each shop and post a $5,000 bond with the city clerk's office.

Regulations for the transfers of an existing pawnshop are the same as an initial application for a new pawnshop license.

Pawnshop hours are also restricted now: they may not operate between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. Pawnshops and connected rooms are not allowed to be used as a residence.

The Department of Public Safety director was provided with a list of inspection and oversight powers in the ordinance and must be notified a week in advance before the pawnshop can ship an item out of town.

The bill becomes effective Dec. 1.

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