Lawton City Council modifies panhandling ordinance

Lawton City Council modifies panhandling ordinance

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The topic of panhandling returned to Lawton City Hall Tuesday night as the Council continues to search for ways to crack down on the problem.

The City Council considered changes to an ordinance they passed two weeks ago to further define what will and won't be allowed. The ordinance specifically prohibits panhandling, soliciting employment and donations or money directly from the occupant of a vehicle in certain circumstances. It also prohibits panhandling at bus stops or where a person is standing in line.

Councilman Jay Burk authored the measure after hearing complaints from people who felt like they'd been harassed by beggars.

"We needed to clarify a lot of things, the language in there, so we can go to what I think is going to be panhandling zones we can put up that are going to stop that as well. I think, so far, even the first part we did has helped. It hasn't solved it, but we're not done," Burk said.

The city also introduced its new finance director during Tuesday night's session.  J. I. Johnson comes to Lawton after working in a similar capacity in Yukon. Tuesday marked his second day on the job.  Johnson is a native of Corn, Oklahoma, and has more than 35 years of experience as a CPA.  He replaces Brooks Mitchell, who resigned last September.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.