SANDWICH – Some solicitors are taking advantage of the storms that rolled through the area May 16.
Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii said during her report at the City Council's Monday, May 20 committee of the whole meeting that local roofers have been trying to get their solicitor permits to go door to door and offer their services to residents within the city following last week's storms. While those local contractors have been waiting on background checks to come through, she said, solicitors from out of town have been getting to residents first, whether they actually have a solicitor's permit or not.
“I just don’t think it’s fair that you have some roofers following the rules and others that aren’t, and we don’t know who those roofers are unless they put a sign in the front yard,” Ii said.
Ward 1 Alderman Les Redden said it's up to the public to know that solicitors within Sandwich are required to have permits to go door-to-door and that they can ask solicitors if they have those permits.
"The idea is to keep some of the fly-by-nights out," Redden said.
A solicitor's permit from the City of Sandwich costs $25 per day for a maximum of 10 days – excluding Sundays, which are off-limits to solicitors. Every solicitor applying for a permit in the city needs to go through a background check, which can be done ahead of time through the Sandwich Police Department to help streamline the licensing process.
Joe Gillespie, emergency management coordinator for Kendall County, said there was no further damage reported from last week's storms that resulted in the county sounding their tornado sirens after the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning.
Gillespie said it's not that uncommon at all for contractors to make their rounds following storms like last week's. He said he urges residents to make sure they're not being taken advantage off and to check whether those solicitors are licensed and reputable.
"They come out in droves every time there are reports of storms," Gillespie said.
Generally speaking, Ii said, the city is going to waive solicitor fees for this particular situation but will still require background checks. She said the city is now creating a system for similar situations in the future where the city keeps track of who has sought a solicitor's permit in the past.
"They just need to let us know that they’re out there,” Ii said.
Ii said residents have been calling the office and questioning whether some roofers have been legally soliciting after hearing some news reports following the meeting on Monday, May 20.
“That’s really what we wanted to get out to community, that there’s a safety issue dealing with people who aren’t vetted or who aren’t from the area,” Ii said.