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Radcliff considering scrap metal ordinance

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Ordinance would monitor purchases of secondhand metals

By Marty Finley

mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com
With a rash of copper thefts confounding local investigators, Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross on Monday encouraged city officials to adopt an ordinance that would monitor local junk, secondhand and scrap metal dealers to give the department more leverage when approaching those businesses.
Cross said there have been more than 20 recent copper-related thefts resulting in a loss exceeding $40,000 in value. The thefts primarily target homes for sale or rent and vacant properties, where copper is stolen from air conditioning units, Cross said. Copper pipes also have been taken.
Cross said police believe the metal has been stolen for profit and sold to local scrap metal dealers for cash. But because the city does not have an ordinance requiring detailed transaction records, the police are placed at a disadvantage, he said.
“We have to have a way to be able to follow up,” Cross said.
The ordinance proposed in Radcliff is similar to ordinances already adopted in Elizabethtown and Vine Grove and would require businesses purchasing metals and various other items secondhand to register the transactions with the Leads On Line database. In doing so, businesses would have to keep a detailed record of each purchase, identifying the name of the person they bought the property from, the signature of the person, an electronic copy of a government-issued photo ID, the date the property was received, the residence or place of business of the seller and a detailed description of the items.
Also, if the property purchased has any engraved numbers, words, initials or other “unique identifying marks,” the marks should be identified in the transaction record. For an automobile, the vehicle identification number should be recorded as well as the license plate number and make, model and description of the vehicle.
Under the proposed ordinance, all transactions monitored under the ordinance should be uploaded to the database within 24 hours and police officers will have the authority to examine transactions during business hours. If law enforcement officials cannot obtain satisfactory information from the transaction record, the businesses would be required to allow law enforcement to examine the property purchased.
The transaction record and a digital photograph are to be retained for a minimum of one year after the purchase.
Businesses also would be prohibited from “selling, altering or destroying” the property for 10 days after the date of purchase or 10 days after registering the property with Leads On Line, whichever comes later. However, City Attorney Michael Pike said this requirement would be waived if a digital photograph is taken of the property and the transaction record is properly maintained.
Pike said he plans to clarify the ordinance to specifically include pawn shops after Councilwoman Barbara Baker made the suggestion to remove confusion.
Councilman Edward Palmer asked Cross if he believes the thefts are related to drug activity in the city, but Cross said police won’t be able to determine the motivation for the thefts until they make an arrest.

In other news

  • Radcliff City Council approved a bid from Scotty’s Contracting at $285,575 to resurface South Wilson Road from Vine Street to Ky. 434 and Shelton Road from Wilson Road to Meadow Lake Drive.
  • Chief Financial Officer Chance Fox presented a proposal to the council to rebate half of the 2 percent gross payroll collected by the city to Colton’s Steakhouse & Grill over a two-year period as an economic incentive for the business establishing in Radcliff. Fox said the incentive would become active as of Aug. 1 and end on July 31, 2013. Similar tax incentives have been provided in the past to businesses, including Cardinal Health, and are based on the number of jobs a business creates and the amount of tax revenue the city gains from the development, Fox said.
  • Brad Richardson, executive director of One Knox, provided an update on the organization’s output and told the council he believes the money spent by the city in funding the One Knox initiative has produced a solid return of investment. Mayor J.J. Duvall asked Richardson to address the council after controversy emerged during budget sessions in funding the organization now that the Base Realignment and Closure Initiative is nearly complete.

The city placed about $10,000 in its budget for the organization, but some have questioned the need to retain the funding. Richardson said One Knox has helped secure $251 million for local BRAC-related projects and around $47 million in water and road projects specifically for northern Hardin County. One Knox also coordinated and participated in 13 regional community tours in 2009 and 2010 as civilian employees visited the community to consider moving as part of BRAC. Currently, Richardson said One Knox is focusing on helping Fort Knox soldiers stationed overseas reintegrate into the community through a mental health initiative and will monitor closely the number of infrastructure improvements under way.
Richardson said the organization also plans to continue assisting with work force job fairs and wants to serve as the single point of contact for Fort Knox. Additionally, One Knox has to remain ready to respond to additional consolidations and changes on the federal level that could affect Fort Knox and the possibility of another BRAC cycle in 2015, he said. Councilman Edward Palmer said he appreciates the work done by One Knox, but said there are other organizations performing the same services One Knox has without the use of taxpayer money. He said he is not naïve enough to believe the state would have ignored the needs of BRAC had One Knox not been created. Richardson, meanwhile, said he believes One Knox will begin to scale back soon because the Office of Economic Adjustment, which provides roughly 90 percent of One Knox’s funding, has promised considerable reductions after 2012 because the “heavy lifting” of BRAC is done. If so, Richardson said the cost burden on local governments would diminish and the community would have to re-evaluate One Knox’s role.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.