MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council voted April 26 to set limitations on those who can solicit door-to-door in the city.
The move requires that any “bona fide” non-profit or charitable organization must be registered with the Secretary of State’s Office to solicit door-to-door. The regulations also make an exception for tax-exempt religious organizations and educational entities.
Police Chief Rich Austin told the council the city has a vetting process in place for solicitors in the city, but it does not cover non-profit organizations. He said outside groups have taken advantage and have been solicitating as charitable groups in Milton despite not operating in the area.
Austin said the updated ordinance will “ensure entities” solicitating in Milton are reputable.
The city’s regulations require that any company soliciting door-to-door must obtain a permit, which must be carried with the person(s) soliciting and shown to residents upon request, unless they are with a non-profit group. Austin said educational, political or religious groups are the most common organizations that would be included under the non-profit umbrella. The permit includes the name, photograph and physical description of the solicitor, and the name or address of the solicitor or their company.
For residents who do not want to be solicitated by companies, Milton’s ordinance dictates that no solicitation is permissible when a “no soliciting” sign is posted on their home. Solicitors are also required to “immediately and peacefully depart from the premises” when requested by a homeowner or renter.
If a “no soliciting” sign is posted, no leaflets, pamphlet, paper, booklet or other printed materials can be left on a property.
An issue raised by Councilman Rick Mohrig was the applicability of “no soliciting” signs posted to include entire neighborhoods. City Attorney Ken Jarrard said such a sign on a home’s front porch disqualifies that household from being solicited, but it’s “less clear” if a “no soliciting” sign posted on a subdivision sign or other area would include all homes within that neighborhood.
The regulations also prohibit door-to-door sales 30 minutes after sunrise or before 9 a.m.
The move to require charitable organizations be registered with the state is the latest update to the city’s door-to-door solicitation ordinance. In January 2020, the city outlined additional definitions within the code, required that Milton police conduct a background check on those requesting a permit and set grounds for that permit being denied. Some of the reasons for denial include if a person has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a felony or crime of “moral turpitude” or any sexual-related crime.
Those found in violation of the ordinance may be cited and prosecuted in Milton Municipal Court with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 60 days in jail.