The Abilene City Council on Thursday tabled a proposed ordinance to require scrap metal business owners to find where metal came from.
The Abilene Police Department and the city of Abilene have been contemplating the proposal as part of an effort to crack down on metal thieves.
At Thursday’s council meeting, many business owners spoke and said the ordinance needed more clarification.
According to Police Chief Stan Standridge, metal dealers are already required to document transactions with the state of Texas. In addition, Standridge said, he wants business owners to report through leadsonline.com.
Standridge said getting documentation from the state is a long process – and more help may be needed to catch crooks.
"What we hope to accomplish today is to close a loophole as it relates to metal recycling entities and precious metal buyers," Standridge said.
The proposed ordinance would require scrap metal dealers to document all transactions to leadsonline.com, a reporting agency. Businesses would have to identify the seller, take pictures of the property and hold onto the precious metals for at least 11 days.
However, scrap metal business owners said the ordinance may be too broad and costly for them. They asked for more time to work with APD.
"We would like a two-week extension just to refine some of the wordage," one business owner said.
"We should stand up and say, hey, don't put the burden all on us," said David Hudson, another business owner. "It's not our job to do the job of keeping records, but we do it anyway."
Council members said they tabled the ordinance so that Standridge and other business owners could clarify what it means.
"What they haven't told us in this ordinance is what items we have to report," said Wayne Lanham, owner of Texas Metal & Recycling. "We need more time to get specific with the police department."
After changes are made, council members will then review the ordinance.