Boynton considers new panhandling rules

Boynton considers new panhandling rules

When you drive in the city of Boynton Beach, you may see panhandlers in the median or walking through the road trying to solicit money.

The city already enforces a state panhandling law but is considering some stricter changes.

At Tuesday's meeting, Boynton Beach commissioners will discuss adopting a Palm Beach County panhandling ordinance that took effect in 2015.

The county ordinance takes things a step further and is all about safety for everyone involved.

It prohibits panhandling of any kind in the median or roadway, including those collecting charity donations or giving out information.

It also raises the penalties for those who get caught, though the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has said it will issue warnings first before moving to fines or arrest.

Boynton Beach is already addressing the issue through another avenue as well with a trespassing agreement. The city says in the past year or so, the police department entered into 76 trespass warning agreements with local business including shopping malls, gas stations and 94 percent of convenience stores.

It essentially makes the police department an agent of the business, allowing them to trespass individuals without the consent or involvement of the owner.

The city acknowledges that adopting the Palm Beach County rules will cost more because the city attorney will have to prosecute these cases. That's estimated to cost close to $3,000 per case.

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