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City Corner column: Legit or a scam, permits help answer questions

By By Jennifer Sourdellia
Feb. 3, 2013 at 5:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 2, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.


Occasionally, I have solicitors knock on my door trying to sell products ranging from magazine subscriptions to roofs and alarm systems. How do I know if the solicitors are legitimate or scam artists?

If you live in the city limits, then chances are you have encountered someone at your door soliciting charitable contributions or selling some type of service or good, such as a magazine subscription. Anyone conducting door-to-door sales (within the city limits) must be registered with the city and have an itinerant vendor's permit (if from out of town) or a commercial outdoor sales permit (if a resident of Victoria County).

Additionally, anyone soliciting funds for charitable organizations must also be registered with the city and have a charitable solicitation certificate. The only exception to this code is that anyone under 14 years of age is not required to have a permit to conduct door-to-door sales - Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn are safe.

The purpose of this registration process is so that the city may perform a background check of the people prior to allowing people to conduct door-to-door solicitations. Therefore, the next time someone knocks on your door, feel free to ask them for either their itinerant vendor's permit and business ID card, commercial outdoor sales permit or their charitable solicitation certificate. These city ordinances are put in place to help protect our residents from would-be scammers who seek to do harm.

Remember, scammers will have a very believable story that is tailored to prey on your emotions and cause you to overlook whether or not these people are who they say they are. Even if you find their story completely believable, err on the side of caution and remember to request their permit or registration certificate. In the event that you encounter someone who cannot produce these items, kindly end your conversation with them and call the Victoria Police Department nonemergency phone number at 361-573-3221.

It's important that the police make contact with people conducting illegal door-to-door sales or solicitation in order to identify them and take appropriate action to prevent further unauthorized activity. Your involvement could help prevent someone from falling victim to a scam.

Is the city offering its annual Rose Pruning Workshop this winter?

Yes. Gardeners from the parks department will host two workshops Thursday to teach residents how to winter-prune roses to prepare their own rose bushes for maximum color this spring. Following hands-on demonstrations, participants will spend the remainder of the session practicing winter-pruning techniques on the hybrid tea, grandiflora, climbing and floribunda roses within the garden.

Proper winter-pruning is as much a skill as it is an art. Join the city's rose experts at the Victoria Memorial Rose Garden in Riverside Park as they share tips and techniques on rose pruning methods. The workshops will be at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Participants are asked to bring their own bypass hand pruner, gloves and a beverage. Those attending are advised to wear long-sleeved clothing to protect themselves from thorns. The Memorial Rose Garden is wheelchair accessible.

In the event of extreme weather conditions, the workshop will be rescheduled for a later date.

Contact the Parks and Recreation office at 361-485-3200 by no later than Tuesday for reservations; space is limited.

Do you have a question about the City of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.

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