pay $20 a month. Under the proposed rules, panhandlers would be required to get a permit every 30 days through the sheriff’s office. The first month’s permit would be free, but panhandlers would pay $20 for each subsequent permit. “It’s just gotten way out of hand,” said Marlene Hill, executive director of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. Hill said some panhandlers knock on drivers’ windows as cars stop at red lights near the interchange of Interstate 40 and N.C. 42. “It’s getting ridiculous,” said Danny Thompson, who lives in McGee’s Crossroads. “These people are coming from everywhere.” As for the background check – permits will be denied if an applicant has been convicted of a violent crime or some other offenses. Nonetheless, with the consequence of breaking the rules just being a misdemeanor, it’s difficult to see how the county will really be able to keep control. Even with rules in place, Commissioner Tony Braswell said the county would not go out looking for panhandlers. “We’re not going to have any panhandling police out there besides what the sheriff’s office does in routine,” he said. It seems to be a case of Johnston County trying to make it more difficult to panhandle there, rather than getting rid of it entirely. Perhaps a tactic of displacing panhandlers to other counties, where there are no permits required.]]>
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