NORTH ROYALTON – As a homeowner, sometimes trouble can come knocking in the form of a scam.
One reoccurring scheme that seems to come up every so often is curb painting services. In the past, residents have reported envelopes being taped to their doors or mailboxes by individuals essentially requesting that money be left out if they would like their address painted on the curb.
These services can be legitimate, but there have been reports locally where the painter never follows through with the service. In fact, The North Royalton Post has covered this same topic in 2011 and 2016.
Even if a solicitor is honest, they must obtain a solicitor permit and become registered to be able to perform such work in the city though this often doesn’t happen. So far no one has done so this season for curb painting or in the past five years at least, according to the building department.
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw wants some type of additional mechanism put in place or existing measures strengthened to prevent residents from being taken advantage of.
He initiated discussion on this topic during City Council’s streets committee meeting July 3. He has asked the law department to look into what other communities have on the books when it comes to solicitation. Council will be reviewing if current measures can be beefed up a bit possibly imposing a stiffer fine to deter scammers or even outright banning curb painting altogether.
The city also prefers residents consider reflective, metal address signs through the fire department that can be affixed to a mailbox. These signs cost $15, which is the same price as a curb painting service but more durable. These are also more visible for safety crews in the event of an emergency, and the fire station will come install them for those who are physically unable.
“It really upsets me to see our residents, especially seniors, taken advantage of. This scam goes on and on and hopefully we can do something about it. I want to see these people go away,” Langshaw said. “Hopefully after summer recess, we will be able to get some kind of census to clarify the code or increase the penalty or make it a more serious misdemeanor to deter this. We encourage residents to take advantage of the nice signs our fire department has. For $15 you are getting a quality sign that can withstand northeast Ohio weather.”
Assistant Law Director Donna Vozar and Ward 5 Councilwoman Cheryl Hannan both pointed out there are legitimate curb painting services out there often times raising dollars for college etc.
“Not all curb painters are scammers,” Vozar said.
“I remember years and years ago, college students coming around and they did a nice job,” Hannan told council.
Ward 2 Councilman Gary Petrusky said he didn’t want to produce more legislation if it isn’t necessary. He said what’s already on the books needs to be enforced and suggested a stricter fine to deter this issue.
“We have to enforce what we have. If they are not registered and they are caught, make it a $500 fine. I hate to say it but spank their hand good,” he said.
In the meantime, he said residents need to be on guard when it comes to any service.
“When somebody is at your door be very cautious. Solicitors should have an ID and a permit for verification,” Petrusky said. “Always call the city if you are unsure.”
Nothing was decided at this meeting, and it will likely be discussed further at the streets meeting in September following council’s August recess.
Residents who spot people dropping off envelopes or painting curbs can contact the North Royalton Police Department non-urgent number at 440-237-8686. Residents can visit the city’s website at northroyalton.org and click on the fire department link for a form for a reflective address sign.