Crime & Courts

Wichita police urge total ban on street fundraising

Wichita police will stand by their original plan and recommend the City Council adopt a total ban on fundraising at intersections.

The council will consider the ordinance Tuesday.

At the request of the council, police will also present an optional ordinance that allows intersection fundraising but places more restrictions on it.

"But the optional ordinance doesn't go to the core of our arguments, which is safety," Deputy Chief Terri Moses said. "We still want a total ban."

That's what Moses presented to the council on Dec. 14. After hearing from the Muscular Dystrophy Association about how the ban would hurt its fundraising, the council asked that a committee study it.

There has been a temporary moratorium on intersection fundraising since the December meeting.

On Jan. 12, a stakeholders meeting was held to address the topic. Out of that meeting came suggestions for new requirements that were added to create an optional ordinance, Moses said.

Those included that a fundraising group must be registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the Internal Revenue Service, that it have a safety plan, that it show proof of liability insurance and that it apply at least five days in advance of its fundraising event.

The minimum age limit would increase to 18 from 16, and the application fee would increase to $100. The fee is now $30 with two weeks' notice and $60 with less notice.

None of those items addresses concerns about more traffic and wider intersections than when the city first began allowing intersection fundraising in 2000, Moses said.

"They really don't improve the situation," she said.

Moses also said informal feedback from citizens —"Those who have taken the time to call me or send e-mails" — is that they also want a ban.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association conducts intersection fundraising each Labor Day weekend. The Ark Valley MDA chapter told the council in December that it raised $50,000 at Wichita intersections this past Labor Day and a ban would cut its fundraising by 70 to 90 percent.

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