KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Watertown Discusses Panhandling License

Bookmark and Share

An ordinance in Sioux Falls banning panhandling has been in effect for a few weeks. And now other cities in South Dakota are trying to do something similar. KDLT was in Watertown Tuesday to learn more about how the city council, police department and residents are working together to stop beggars.

Monday the Watertown City Council passed an ordinance limiting panhandlers to be 20 feet from a door or ATM.  

The goal is to help businesses on the east side of Watertown that have dealt with panhandlers bothering customers.

But Watertown City Council members and business owners know this won’t solve the city’s panhandling problem, so they have another plan.
"What I'd like to see is that they have a license to be there,” said Lynn Ingles, the owner of Interstate 29 Shell.

Lynn Ingles is the owner of Interstate 29 Shell, and he said panhandlers have worn out their welcome.

Not only do they bother his customers while getting gas, they leave the areas in which they stand a mess.

“I've gone and picked up a half a dozen McDonald’s bags without a single thing taken out of it,” said Ingles.

Ingles said the new ordinance is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

“They just need to have a law with some teeth,” said Ingles.

City Council members and the Watertown Police Department agree.

So as of Tuesday, the city attorney was drafting a proposed licensing ordinance for panhandlers.  

“We would license the panhandlers, and they would come to the police station, assuming it passes. We would finger print, I.D., check for warrants,” said Michael Christians, from the Watertown City Council.

Watertown Police said it would be the same process peddlers go through.     

"Panhandlers would have to register. Probably would make contact with them, tell them about the ordinance, and tell them where the police department is and then they'd have to come down and go through the process,” said Lee McPeek, Assistant Police Chief Watertown Police Department.

And with a possible fee of $1,000 to obtain the license, council members hope it will make panhandlers not want to make a stop in Watertown.

So we asked James, a man from North Carolina, we found at the of I-29 and 212 what he will do if the ordinance is passed.

“If it comes down to it, and we can't panhandle or just fly a sign, I guess will find other pastures,” said James.

But he wants people to remember one thing, nuisance or not.

"I'm not stealing or hurting anybody. If people want to help me out, I am thankful for them,” said James.

Ingles and others have noticed panhandlers are circulating between towns. Apparently they go between Brookings, Watertown and Fargo. And to help them out Ingles said he has even offered them a job. But he says none of them have taken him up on his offer.

The draft of the panhandle license will be brought to the Watertown City Council December 3 for its first reading. Supporter hope to have it passed within the next couple of months.
< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >

Police Discuss Domestic Violence   story with video

Sioux Falls Police are investigating their third homicide of the year. The three ...

Family Park Diving Incident Gone Wrong

A rescue diver remains hospitalized tonight after he was pulled from the water of a ...

Deadline Looms For SF School District Projects  story with video

The Sioux Falls School District is feeling the pressure. This summer, ...

Teams To Begin Assessing Weather Damage On Monday  Jul. 11

SD Spring Wheat Crop Estimate Up 13 Percent  Jul. 11

Diver Hospitalized After Training Incident  Jul. 11

Plans Readied For MN Medical Marijuana Operation  Jul. 11

Judge Again Delays Closing Of Sioux City Casino  Jul. 11

SD Ends Another Budget Year With Surplus  Jul. 11

Update: SF Police Reconstructing Accident  story with video  Jul. 11

Update: Dead Couple's Son Found In WI  Jul. 11

Injury Accident Closes SF Intersection  Jul. 11

2 South Dakota Restaurants Honored For Wine Lists  Jul. 11

Blue Mounds State Park To Reopen Monday  Jul. 11

Iowa Couple Dead, Police Search For Son   story with video  Jul. 10

Emergency Crews Respond To Possible Drowning  Jul. 10

FEMA Denies SD Request For Individual Assistance  Jul. 10

SF Man Charged In Stabbing Murder  story with video  Jul. 10

Corn Palace Makeover  story with video  Jul. 10

Prosecution: Patterson Needs To Be In Control  story with video  Jul. 10

KDLT News Archive

Injury Accident Closes SF Intersection

An acident with serious injuries closed the ...

Update: Dead Couple's Son Found In WI

A man sought as a witness in the suspicious deaths of his ...

Update: SF Police Reconstructing Accident  story with video

An accident with serious, life-threatening injuries ...

2 South Dakota Restaurants Honored For Wine Lists  Jul. 11

Diver Hospitalized After Training Incident  Jul. 11

Family Park Diving Incident Gone Wrong  Jul. 11

Judge Again Delays Closing Of Sioux City Casino  Jul. 11

Police Discuss Domestic Violence   story with video  Jul. 11

KDLT News Archive

Mike Miller Leaving Memphis As Cleveland Rumors Swirl  story with video

Now that LeBron James has chosen to make his ...

Pierre's Rumrill Wins At Snowfox Invite  story with video

SIOUX FALLS, S. D.   --  Pierre's Wyatt Rumrill shined on the second day of ...

Westward Ho Pro Am Jam Begins  story with video

SIOUX FALLS, S. D.   --  Ryan Dillon's 9-under 63 gave him the lead after day one of the ...

Canaries Ground Air Hogs 4-0  story with video  Jul. 11

LeBron James Says He's Returning To Cavaliers  Jul. 11

SD Heat win Dakota Challenge title at Pentagon  story with video  Jul. 10

Ed Moses talks swimming in Sioux Falls  story with video  Jul. 10

Trasamar looking forward to next event  story with video  Jul. 10

KDLT Sports Stories
Back To Top