Proposed City of Tallahassee Ordinance Threatens MDA Boot Drive

The city says this is in response to numerous complaints from citizens and some close calls, but this new proposed ordinance is causing problems for some groups.

Every year thousands of fire departments across the country take off their boots and raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

In Tallahassee, our firefighters have been able to raise thousands of dollars with their own boot drives. Now, officials from the MDA are here in Tallahassee, but not to raise money.

Suzanne Austin with MDA says, "We were notified that an ordinance is being proposed to ban street solicitation and the firefighters are the MDA's number one fundraisers with their boot drives."

Jim English, City of Tallahassee attorney, says, "It's a chronic problem when someone approaches a car in traffic and almost gets hit. We get lots of complaints.

The city says the ordinance isn't meant to stop any organizations from raising money, but instead is meant to help keep people safe and out of the way of moving traffic.

"They can do a boot drive but not in the middle of the street. They will have to stay on the sidewalks or parking lots. We think there are plenty of places to raise money," adds Jim.

Austin says, "It takes them off the streets and affects us greatly. For example, in Jacksonville something similar happened and the firefighters there went from raising $60,000 to $10,000. They just can't raise the same amount of money."

Representatives for the MDA say they understand the city's concern, but hope the city understands theirs. No official decisions have been made on the proposed ordinance.

If you would like to weigh in on the decision, the city invites you to attend a public hearing scheduled for August 25.