HUNTLEY – Solicitors wanting to sell services throughout Huntley neighborhoods will now have to undergo an in-depth background check and pay a new permit fee before visiting residents’ doorsteps.
Weekly complaints from residents about solicitors and a recent uptick in door-to-door roofers after the spring thunderstorms motivated Huntley officials to tighten regulations on solicitation, said Deputy Police Chief Michael Klunk.
The Huntley Police Department will enforce the new regulations after Village Board members unanimously approved the updated solicitor rules during a meeting Thursday.
“The new rules are a little more strict,” Klunk said. “The big difference really is the fees involved, and the fingerprinting process that we didn’t do in the past. It’s a more in-depth background check.”
Each solicitor, even ones representing the same company, will have to be fingerprinted, allowing police to thoroughly verify a salesman’s background.
The solicitor will also have to cover the costs of the fingerprinting and pay a $25 permit application fee. The total costs could equal up to $60, Klunk said.
Commercial canvassers, temporary merchants and peddlers selling products from public places are also included in the expanded regulations. The minimum penalty for violating the ordinance increased from $5 to $50.
Huntley hadn’t updated its solicitation ordinance since creating one in the late 1990s. In the past, solicitors underwent a minimal background check with police and didn’t pay permitting fees.
Door-to-door solicitors also seem to visit Huntley more frequently because neighboring communities already have deeper background checks and fees placed on them, Klunk said.
In 2013, the village issued 378 solicitor permits, a significant increase from the 174 permits issued in 2012, police records show.
In committee meetings earlier this month, both village trustees and staff said the tighter regulations are meant to keep neighborhoods safer and discourage less reputable solicitors from knocking on doors.
“Although the rules and regulations to solicit door-to-door will be more strict, the code will provide a safer environment for residents,” said Assistant Village Manager Lisa Armour during a board meeting last week.
Like the old rules, the police can deny an applicant if a solicitor has been convicted of a felony within the past five years, previously violated the village’s solicitation ordinance or had a permit revoked.
The new regulations take effect immediately.