Ordinance to stop panhandling in Murray in the works

A local city is taking aim at panhandlers. City leaders in Murray are now working on an ordinance to would stop people from begging for money around town.

Soup for the Soul kitchen is dedicated to helping people in need. Even its operator, Debbie Smith, can't help solve a problem the city of Murray deals with.

"I drive by and see the people, and I always stop and talk to them," Smith said.

Lately, Smith says she frequently sees people on the streets panhandling. When she tries to help, they don't accept it.

"They would say 'Well, we're not hungry. We don't want to come to the kitchen. We just want money,'" Smith said.

Smith isn't the only one noticing the problem.

"Murray is thriving, and I think that message is getting out," said Mayor Jack Rose.

Rose says that success may be attracting panhandlers, along with the fact that other nearby cities have banned begging.

"I think folks may be migrating here," Rose said. "Murray is a loving community. It's a helping community, but it's one, too, that likes to have law and order."

Murray City Council is in the early stages of putting together a draft ordinance to ban panhandling. 

"I feel helpless, and that it's a shame," Smith said.

The ordinance is something people like Smith hope puts an end to the issue.

The mayor says a city attorney still has to do research and then write up the draft ordinance. Other cities with panhandling ordinances include Paducah, Bowling Green and Hopkinsville.

Once the city attorney has that draft ordinance written, he'll show it to city council, and they city will have some decisions to make. The mayor says he hopes that ordinance it written by the city council meeting on Sept. 10.

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