Brownwood City Council members approved an ordinance on first reading Tuesday that sets rules on panhandling in the city.
    The ordinance will go before the council before two additional readings before it is final.
    Among the ordinance’s provisions:
    • Panhandling is prohibited on Commerce Street, Main Street, Austin Avenue and Coggin Avenue.
    • Soliciting funds from occupants of vehicles on any city street by a panhandler on a street is prohibited.
    • Panhandling within 150 feet of an intersection controlled by a traffic light is prohibited.
    • Impeding traffic while panhandling is prohibited.
    • Panhandling on private property without the owner’s permission is prohibited.
    The ordinance will be enforceable by code enforcement and law enforcement, and violators can be fined $500, the ordinance states.
    The city has received multiple calls from the public regarding panhandling on some busy commercial corridors, City Manager Emily Crawford told council members. The panhandling has occurred on traffic islands, on parkways and private property next to city streets and near busy intersections on those streets, Crawford told council members.
    Panhandling seems to be increasing with additional commercial development and increased traffic, and code enforcement officers, police officers and the city marshal have experienced aggressive and disruptive behavior by some panhandlers, Crawford told the council.