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Columbia County Report: County commissioners consider solicitation ban and Lake City Police & Fire Chief swearing-in

Columbia County Report: County commissioners consider solicitation ban and Lake City Police & Fire Chief swearing-in
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) -Columbia County commissioners consider banning solicitation and panhandling on county property in their upcoming meeting.

“So there’s two sides to it.”

The ordinance would ban solicitation and loitering at all county buildings. The rule also includes banning smoking, burning candles and posting any signage on county buildings as well. The ordinance stems from people complaining to county commissioners that solicitors outside of these buildings are keeping them from wanting to conduct business with the county.

RELATED STORY: Lake City council members increase fine costs for panhandling ordinance

“Putting in prohibit forms of solicitation in front of county office buildings, especially, they have that issue with the annex building, the courthouse annex building and libraries and things like that and then the second part of it is the loitering side of it because it’s hard to differentiate sometimes, what the intentions are,” said Columbia County Public Information Officer, Paula Vann.

Commissioners meet at 9:30 Thursday morning.

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Fire Chief Joshua Wehinger and Police Chief Gerald Butler Jr were honored with an official swearing-in ceremony Tuesday night. Chief Butler replaced Argatha Gilmore as interim chief in October before receiving the permanent position in March.

RELATED STORY: Lake City’s new police chief was hosted at the American Legion Post 57′s quarterly breakfast

Wehinger is the 10th fire chief for the department and has 24 years of experience as a firefighter—starting his career with the Lake City Fire Department. Several firefighters and police officers were promoted during last night’s ceremony as well.

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