Panhandlers could pay for asking for cash in certain areas

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The city of Boise could start charging people who are aggressive begging for money and begging in certain places in the city.

A new ordinance to stop panhandling in some parts of the city would make it illegal for people to ask for money in roadways, near an ATM, near sidewalk cafes, at bus stops and in several other public places.

And if you're caught doing it, you could get a fine of around $60 the first time. Then, if you're caught again in the same year, it's a misdemeanor, and you could face jail time.

But often the people asking for money don't have $60 to pay.

So KBOI asked city leaders what would happen if the panhandler couldn't come up with cash for the fine.

City spokesman Adam Park said the fine would just go unpaid.

There would be no penalty until their second offense in a year, or until several of those infractions built up year after year.

We also asked if extra police resources would go toward writing tickets that may go unpaid.

"We don't anticipate that," said Parks, "We have a very robust police presence downtown already with the bicycle team and with the city in general, and we think that this would make their job easier to do in some ways than what they're experiencing now."

Park says police have been in support of this ordinance. He says they often spend their time dealing with the same aggressive panhandlers over and over again and would like to get them off the streets.

The Boise City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on September 17th. If it passes, it would go into effect next year, leaving time for police training on how to enforce it.